Ritual + Culture / THREE SUMBA GOLD EAR ORNAMENTS, MAMULI EAST NUSA TENGGARA, INDONESIA, 19TH-20TH CENTURY (3)
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THREE SUMBA GOLD EAR ORNAMENTS, MAMULI
6.3 cm, 7.2 cm, 6 cm high
22.658 g, 31.875 g, 15.080 g
Three elegant mamuli of heavy gold with granulation work and applied filigree, the base with protruding projections respectively depicting cockatoos, banana trees and two vessels.
The mamuli is one the most discernible forms originating from the island of Sumba, perfectly embodying the magnificent work of Sumbanese goldsmiths. Reminiscent of the archaic omega shape ubiquitous to insular Southeast Asia, these pendants held an important role in the socio-economic exchanges within Sumbanese communities. As ornaments, they were worn around the neck, on the ears or as part of a headdress as a display of power and social rank. Mamuli also constituted part of the traditional dowry, belonging to the inherited treasures of large aristocratic families.
Originating from East or Central Sumba, these examples are rather early, as displayed in their simple and stylised forms. With time, mamuli evolved to display increasingly complicated figurative motifs. (Rodgers, 1985)
Rodgers, S. and Ferrazzini, P. (1985). Power and gold: Jewelry from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Geneva: Barbier-Müller Museum, no. 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133,. pp. 330-331.
Carpenter, B., Heurtault, P. and Guerreiro, A. (2011). Ethnic jewellery from Indonesia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, pp. 202-203, 204, 205.
Carpenter, B., Richter, A. (2012). Gold Jewellery of the Indonesian Archipelago. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, pp. 134-146.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York acc. no. 1990.335.4
Metmuseum.org. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/316408