An image of Ceremonial ear pendant (mamuli)

Unknown Artist

Ceremonial ear pendant (mamuli)

Not on display
Further information

Ear pendants ('mamuli') were part of the store of sacred heirlooms, along with old textiles and porcelains, handed down through the noble families of the island of Sumba, at the eastern end of the Indonesian island chain. Secret and ritualistic objects, 'mamuli' were brought down from dark attic stores by the 'rato', or priest, and used in ceremonies to make contact with the spirits ('marapu'). It was only for special occasions such as funerals that these spiritually charged objects were released from their dark hiding places, for fear that their great powers would bring havoc and disaster upon those who saw them. With such powers accorded them the 'mamuli' were regarded as emblems of the social and political powers of a family and its lineage.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 300.

Place of origin
East Sumba, Indonesia
early 19th century-20th century
9.0 x 11.0 x 1.8 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Goldie Sternberg Southeast Asian Art Purchase Fund 1992
Accession number