An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment
This piece was found in Lampung, southern Sumatra. It is similar in shape to one found in Carpenter's book on page 94.
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Congratulations, Edith. I sometimes do exactly the same thing....i.e. buy another piece like one I already have. The top of your second comb is very graceful and elegant.
I liked this type of comb so much that I couldn't resist buying another. This one has broken teeth, but the top of the comb is in perfect condition.
Absolute brilliant find.
Your sleuthing is very interesting and indeed all these icons are related!
The boat was central to the Austronesian people for it helped them accomplish their odissey and kept them alive after they left their taiwanese motherland ( most interesting is the stone boat in yamdena/Tanimbar), the boat represents both a real past and a potential mythological future replaced by the settlement on islands and thus embodies the tree of life. the next natural development step was the connexion to buffaloes, the only animals in the region that man could grow and in which store wealth of the land he came to settle in and transform.
All of this still visible not only in the daily life of the animistic people such as the Toraja of Sulawesi but also in the material culture of the Muslim people.....such artefacts have very very long memory!
Here are some additional ruminations about the meaning of the shape of this comb. The form is echoed in the repeating shape of stacked buffalo horns attached to Sumatran houses. Here is a photo...
The idea of stacking is also echoes in the local creation myths which describe heaven as having 7 levels. So, in Sumatran iconography the shape of the comb references infinity.
Here is a photo of an old textile from the same region with a design that echoes the one in the comb.
Very beautiful, Edith!
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