Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

Although these "lelbutir" are pretty common in the marketplace, I thought myself lucky to find this pair because of their good quality and condition. They are gilded brass with the gilding still visible. They are stuffed with a red trade cloth and wrapped with thread at the top. Carpenter shows a similar pair suspended from a beaded chain on page 292 of his book.

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Comment by Ann on February 13, 2018 at 19:48

The fabric kills me! I just love that touch. They are really neat. I've never seen anything like them. How nice too that you got a pair of the quality you deserve! 

Comment by Edith D on February 13, 2018 at 8:35

Thanks!  You are correct in that vertically symmetrical designs are a common theme in much of the regional tribal art, and this is not unlike the type of symmetry found in Art Deco. The earrings above are meant as a fertility symbol and represent both male and female reproductive parts.  Variations on this design can be found across the archipelago.

Comment by Ann on February 13, 2018 at 4:19

Great earrings! They look very Art Deco industrial to me.


Comment by Edith D on January 19, 2018 at 6:51

A woman from southeast Maluku wearing lelbutir earring.  The motif of this type of earring is clearly a fertility symbol with both male and female components.



Created by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 10, 2017 at 4:03pm. Last updated by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 17, 2017.


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