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Philippe Heurtault Photographer P. Heurtault was born in France in 1952, and first discovered the mysteries of the darkroom at age 16. His passion for photography led him to work with fashion legends such as Karl Lagerfeld and Yves SaintLaurent in the 1970s. Known for his work in magazines such as Vogue, Playboy and Vanity Fair, Philippe has also worked for advertising agencies such as Publicis and McCann Erikson. He divides his time between France and Southeast Asia.


Dr. Antonio J. Guerreiro Dr. Guerreiro is a leading scholar in the comparative approach of Austronesian cultures and arts. He has published extensively on Malay/Indonesian ethnic cultures since the 1980s. Dr. Guerreiro has worked as a consultant for various museographical projects and has done research on ikat textiles and personal adornments of the peoples of the Indonesian Archipelago, especially in Borneo and Sumatra.

Continuity and Evolution

Showcasing nearly 600 pieces of jewellery amassed over 30 years, Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity and Evolution is a testimony to the living traditions of the indigenous peoples of Indonesia. The history of the ancient art of body ornament is told from the perspective of the materials used, including gold, silver, brass, ivory, shell and animal teeth.

Text by Bruce

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Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity and Evolution features the private Indonesian jewellery collection of Manfred Giehmann. Amassed over 30 years, this collection stands as testimony to the Indonesian people’s living traditions, which M. Giehmann experienced first hand through direct interactions. The book is a unique survey of the jewellery traditions found among the diverse peoples and cultures that populate the more than 17,000 islands making up the Indonesian Archipelago. Leading Indonesian art expert Bruce W. Carpenter tells the history of the ancient art of body ornament from the perspective of the materials used. With nearly 600 pieces of jewellery showcased in full colour, this book covers items made from gold, silver, brass, ivory, shell and animal teeth on the various islands of Indonesia except Java, Bali and West Papua. In addition, an authoritative introduction by prominent French scholar Antonio Guerreiro gives readers a glimpse into the lifestyle and social systems of the indigenous peoples whose lives are shrouded in mystery.


Bruce W. Carpenter A leading art expert and writer, B. Carpenter has authored and co-authored over twenty books and numerous essays on Indonesian art, including the critically well-acclaimed W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp: First European Artist in Bali. Since 1974, Bruce has been interested in Indonesian jewellery and has travelled throughout the archipelago. He currently resides in Bali and owes his broad knowledge of Indonesian art, culture and history to independent study and direct experience.

W. Carpenter Photographs by Philippe Heurtault Introduction by Dr. Antonio J. Guerreiro



Pair of silver ear ornaments or pendants from Sumbawa Pair of women’s ivory bracelets from Sumba SPINE: Sunburst ear plugs from West Sumatra (see page 46) BACK COVER:


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The collector, the publisher and the authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors for their support of this publication:


Editor: Valerie Ho Managing Editor: Francis Dorai Editorial Director: Douglas Amrine Designer: Annie Teo Production Manager: Sin Kam Cheong Š 2011 Editions Didier Millet Designed and produced by Editions Didier Millet Pte Ltd 121 Telok Ayer Street #03-01 Singapore 068590

Colour separation by Pica Digital, Singapore. Printed in Singapore by Star Standard Industries (Pte) Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the copyright owners.

ISBN 978-981-4260-68-8


2: Carved wild boar (babirussa) tusk from West Timor (see page 268) 4: Ceremonial bracelet (galang gadang) from West Sumatra PAGES 6–7: Pair of silver ear ornaments from Sumatra


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The Manfred Giehmann Collection

Text by

Bruce W. Carpenter Introduction by

Dr Antonio J. Guerreiro Photographs by

Philippe Heurtault

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This book is dedicated to all the anonymous jewellery craftsmen throughout the Indonesian Archipelago. It has been written as a testimony of their talents. We hope that their artistic creation will always be recognised and appreciated.

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Acknowledgements ithout the warm encouragement and advice of


My gratitude also goes to all the anonymous friends

a few friends such as Bernard Sellato, Geneviéve

and acquaintances who have helped me, over the years, to

de Bernis and Jean Claude Le Cardinal as well

organise, and often accompanied me, on numerous field

as the unfailing support of my family, I doubt I would ever

trips throughout many remote parts of Indonesia. Their

consider producing such a book. I want to underline my

loyalty and friendship has to be acknowledged.

gratitude to all of them for pushing me into undertaking this interesting adventure.

There is not enough space on this page to thank the many individuals who have helped me over the years

My sincere thanks to my dear friend Johnny Yussuf

to build up my precious collection. They will receive, in

Abdullah in Jakarta who helped me to look for a sponsor.

due course, a signed copy of this book as a memento of

He, too, decided to become a sponsor. Our friendship goes

their contributions.

back to the mid 70s and has grown stronger ever since.

My thanks and appreciation also goes to my oldest and

The trust and support of Oliviero Bottinelli of Audemars

dearest friends: Willin and Georges Koller, Michel Vieuge,

Piguet and of my long-term partners Wui Ong Chuan and

Gilles Boivin, Peter Bölsterli, Florence and François Chalverat,

Nancy Lim of Hydronav Services must be acknowledged

Marléne and François Armangaud, Guy Demierre, Roland

here. Without their generosity, this book would not have

Thorelle, Olivier Fargeix, Stéphane Schmid, Jean Michel

been possible.

Michel, Socrate Georgiadés and and a few others for their

I am also grateful to the many individuals who have helped

keen interest in and support of my book project.

me during the preparation of this book – My friend Aimery

Thank you to Bruce Carpenter for writing the

Joessel for researching archival photos, my son Florent Y.C.

comprehensive main text and his valuable assistance in the

Giehmann for his assistance in polishing the Preface, and my

book layout; to Dr Antonio Guerreiro for his authoritative

companion Pesta Helen Pasaribu for her help in preparing

Introduction; and to Philippe Heurtault for his beautiful

the jewellery during the photography sessions.

photographs used in this book. I also want to thank the

I want to thank the Indonesian art experts and

various contributors who have granted me permission to use

collectors Bruce Carpenter, Bernard Sellato, Antonio

their photographs and images. Their names are mentioned

Guerreiro and Georges Breguet for their contributions

on the picture credits page 323.

to this book. Thank you also to the friendly and reliable

Finally, a special mention goes to the team at Editions

Primitive Arts traders A. Pornwichunda, Verra Darwiko,

Didier Millet – Didier and Marie-Claude Millet, Charles Orwin,

H. Daeng Iskandar, H.M. Nur Amin, Yohannes Teak,

Francis Dorai, K.C. Sin and of course my editor, Valerie Ho,

Yurmal S., H. Syafri, E. Laurens, M. Mandu, A. Lathief

and designer, Annie Teo, for their dedication and hard work.

and many others for sharing their vast knowledge on Indonesian art and ethnic jewellery with me.

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Contents Dedication 4 Acknowledgements 5 Contents 6 Map of the Indonesian Archipelago 8 Preface 10 Introduction by Dr. Antonio J. Guerreiro 14 Continuity and Evolution 22



Aceh 54 Gayo Alas 60 Batak Toba 62 Batak Karo 74 Nias 86 Mentawai 100 Minangkabau 102 Riau to Lampung 116



Iban 132 Tunjung-Pasir 144 Bidayuh-Punan 146 Kenyah-Kayan 148 Benuaq 158 Banjar-Kutai 162

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164 Bugis/Makassar 166 Kulawi 180 Toraja 186

Lombok to Sumba and Sawu


Lombok/Sumbawa 196 Sumba 200 Sawu 222

Flores to Alor


Flores 230 Alor 250

West Timor/Timor Leste


West Timor/Rote 254 Timor Leste 282


288 Southeast Maluku 290 Bibliography 320 Picture Credits 323 Index 324

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SOUTH CHINA SEA Kota Kinabalu • • Banda Aceh

M A L A Y S I A • Medan


Peninsular Malaysia ra






BRUNEI East Malaysia

Tarakan •






• Kuching

Sumatra Equator

• Pontianak

• Sintang Samarinda •



• Jambi • Palangkaraya • Palembang • Banjarmasin

• Bengkulu


• Bandarlampung

• Jakarta

Legend International boundary



• Surabaya Sumbawa Besar

• Yogyakarta










• Bengkulu



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LOMBOK • Mataram


S 360


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Map of the Indonesian Archipelago PHILIPPINES

Manado • P. TERNATE


• Sorong

• Palu

Sulawesi • Rantepao


• Kendari

P. BANDA • Ujungpandang (Makassar)

Maluku (Moluccas)

West Papua



P. WETAR Riung


Larantuka P. PALUE

Ruteng • Bajawah

• •

• • Ende


• P. LOMBLEN Maumere

Waikabubak • • Waingapu • Lamboya • Rende P. SAWU




Atambua •

• Dili

Lospalos •



TANIMBAR • Saumlaki


West Timor • Kupang P. ROTE


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Women’s necklace Busang, Long Pahangai East Kalimantan Old glass beads L: 38cm

ack in 1954 when I was still a boy in France, my school rewarded me with a book titled Les Naufragés de Borneo – The Shipwrecked

of Borneo – for successfully completing another

OPPOSITE: An Iban lady adjusting her silver head ornament in front of a mirror before a ceremony. Late 1940

year of primary education. This adventure story catapulted me into a fantastic world of monstrous jungle apes, savage headhunters, precious stones and many other exotic wonders and treasures. Little did I realise at the time how profoundly this book would influence my destiny. From then on, the dream of travelling to the mysterious Far East never left me. My dream would finally come true in 1973, when as a young engineer working for a survey company based in Singapore, I was assigned to a coastal mapping project for an oil company in the delta of the Mahakam River, Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. A year later I took some time off from work and embarked on my first expedition into the interior of the island, sailing several hundred kilometres up the course of the Mahakam on narrow riverboats. After days of travel, I landed in Long Bagun, a village at the edge of the territory of the Dayak, Borneo’s indigenous people. To my great surprise, I was not alone, having been preceded by a young French geologist Bernard Sellato who was prospecting for uranium on behalf of the Indonesian government. Impressed by his deep knowledge of the region


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TOP: A Toraja shaman wearing a round bead collar and several bead necklaces. A similar round collar is on pages 190–1. Circa 1930 BOTTOM:

Men’s ring Toraja, Sulawesi Silver H: 3cm

and an intimate understanding of Dayak culture, an enduring friendship between Bernard and I was born that day. Spurred by his passion for Borneo and the Dayak, Bernard would later pursue a doctorate in anthropology and become an internationally renowned authority on the cultures and traditions of Borneo. During our first encounter he provided me with invaluable assistance that enabled me to travel upstream beyond the river’s treacherous highland rapids. There, I settled upriver in the village of Long Pahangai at the heart of the Kayan and Busang land and received my first initiation

almost 900 pieces, an expanding research archive

into the intricate, mystical universe of Dayak

and, finally, the generous offers of several sponsors

customs and beliefs. I would also acquire what

– led towards the first steps in the publication of a

would be the first piece in my future collection of

book. From the very beginning, I realised that my

jewellery (page 11) – a vibrantly coloured trade-

collection and consequently any book documenting

bead necklace.

it would be highly personal in nature. While I have

Throughout the following 30 years, I had the

carefully selected and vetted each piece, my criteria

good fortune to travel extensively to many of the

has not only been empirical but also emotive – the

most remote regions of Indonesia. In the process I

residue of my passion for tribal art and culture.

developed a keen interest in the art and culture of

There is also no claim of being comprehensive. It

minority groups such as the Batak and the Nias of

must be remembered, too, that I lived and shared

Sumatra, the Toraja of Sulawesi, as well as those in

rites of passage – birth, coming of age, marriage

the eastern islands. It was only in the year 2000, after

and death ceremonies – with all of these people

settling in Bali, that I came to the realisation that I

and cultures. Most of the items here are memories

had accumulated several hundred pieces of ethnic

from living cultures, not anonymous specimens.

jewellery from throughout the archipelago. The

There is also a tinge of sadness here. Until the

epiphany that I had accidentally become a serious

early 1980s, very little had changed in the modes

collector caused me to pursue this occupation with

of life among the archipelago’s ethnic minorities.

new vigour and focus.

Customary rules (adat in the Indonesian language), which govern most of daily life, were still widely


The Birth of a Book

observed. Members of these small-scale societies

In 2008, a combination of factors – the

followed ancestral traditions, obeying timeless

encouragement of many friends, a collection of

customs that had remained unchanged for

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TOP: Detail of man wearing gelang sarung and topak gadjah ring during ceremony Batak Karo Circa 1930 BOTTOM: Gowa ear ornament Sulawesi Silver and green crystal L: 6cm

centuries. Today, however, much has changed as a

readership as possible, particularly those who may

result of modernity. While many of the old ways

share an interest in this subject. My aim is to give

still linger, they are often faint shadows of the

readers an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the fast

once great and ancient traditions. My collection is

disappearing magnificent and ancient traditions of

a humble and personal homage to this past and

each region.

its living legacy.

The Team A Note to the Reader

As I have learned first hand, it is impossible to

This book is limited to the jewellery of minority

imagine the complexities of producing an art book

ethnic groups around the Insulindian archipelago

before making one. I was fortunate to be guided in

with the exclusion of West Papua. The classical

this process by Didier Millet, director of a Southeast

jewellery and ornaments of Java and Bali, which

Asian premier publishing house. Didier would

have been thoroughly documented in other

introduce me to Indonesian art expert Bruce W.

publications, have thus been left out. Likewise,

Carpenter whose work I knew well from many of

jewellery made from ephemeral materials – grass,

his previous publications. After meeting with Bruce,

flowers, rattan, bamboo – are not the subject of

who, like me, has crisscrossed the archipelago

this book because they are impermanent and also

for more than two decades, I understood the

because they are used mostly for singular and

depth of his passion and first-hand knowledge of

transient ritual events or purposes. My emphasis is

Indonesian jewellery. Coincidently Bruce is also a

rather on objects serving in ritual exchanges, or as

good friend of Dr. Antonio Guerreiro, a respected

patrimonial heirlooms representing the houses or

French scholar and colleague of my old friend

clans to which the peoples belong.

Bernard Sellato. I am honoured that they agreed

Although the title of this book refers nominally

to write the Introduction and main text. The final

to “Indonesia”, the collection covers the entire

and equally important inclusion of professional



photographer Philippe Heurtault, who spent

political boundaries to cover geographical areas

much time in Sumba, allowed the book to begin

such as Borneo (thus including both Indonesian

in earnest. I am grateful to all four of them for

Kalimantan and Malaysian Sarawak) and Timor

their keen interest in my project and dedication to

(home to both the Indonesian province of West

achieve the best results. I must also thank them

Timor and the now independent Timor Leste),

for their patience and understanding when dealing

where similar ethnic groups share strong bonds

with my lack of expertise in the realisation of this

of culture and identity across both sides of their

book. Merci mes Amis!




respective national borders. My hope is that, through this book, I can share my passion for Insulindian tribal arts with as wide a

Manfred Giehmann


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Ear ornaments with arrowhead protrusions from the Sa Huynh culture of Central Vietnam (Circa 700 BCE – 100 CE) White jade H: 4.5cm, 3cm, 2cm, 2.5cm

ooking at the intriguing shapes of traditional Indonesian





about their roots in the ancient past of the

Southeast Asian region. The more than 900 items in the Manfred Giehmann Collection shows an exceptional diversity and numerous variations of

The slit ring ornament has four protrusions and is flat. The other three are typical lingling-o with only three protrusions and are in the shape of a tear drop.

the basic forms. The jewellery has been collected and researched through a period of over 30 years, which is quite an extraordinary feat. M. Giehmann should be commended for the time and effort. Let

OPPOSITE: A selection of archaic ornaments dating from the 7–11th centuries found in the Musi River, South Sumatra, and in Sarawak, Borneo Bronze, tin, metal alloy D: 1.5–3cm

me begin by giving a brief outline of the collection’s general background. Within






Southeast Asia, including Taiwan, the Philippines, Central Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, the oldest





contexts were made of stone, bone and shell. They included bracelets, necklaces, beads and various ear ornaments. Most of these jewellery were burial goods that would accompany the dead. The artefacts span from the Neolithic to the Bronze-Iron Age of Island Southeast Asia (2,500 BCE to about 5th century CE). Probably the most famous items found are two series of green and white nephrite, or jadeite, earrings with three or four projections. It has been recently discovered that the raw material of the earrings originated from a site on the eastern coast of Taiwan. The similarities of these earrings include the technology used, the forms and the mineral composition of the stones (Bellwood, Introduction

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Sumbanese women in ceremonial costumes dancing on the festive occasion of the completion of a new house in their village Circa 1940


Hung, Iizuka 2006; Bellwood 1979 and 1997).

Another important source of inspiration from

The earrings, shaped like a “C” and named after a

the insular regions of Southeast Asia, especially

Philippine word lingling–o, were found all around

the Indo-Malaysian archipelago, came from the

the South China Sea. Clearly the distribution of

Austroasiatic Dong Son culture (800 BCE–100 CE).

these jade earrings is related to the existence of

This influence extended several centuries well

an early Austronesian maritime trading network

into the first millennium, as shown by the

in the region. Professor William Solheim II has

worksmanship of bronze, gold and brass artefacts.

named it the Nusantao, “the peoples from the

Decorative patterns such as boat shapes, various

islands” network (1975 and 2006). These peoples,

stylised zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures,

who shared a common ancestral migration history

besides a geometric style of ornamentation,

and possibly similar languages, have maintained

are seen in the jewellery and other artefacts

their trade relationships long after they migrated

made on the islands, apart from those imported

from Taiwan and the northern Philippines region

from the mainland (Bellwood 1979 and 1997;

to other areas. Related ornaments extended from

Bernet Kempers 1988). One must mention the

the Early Iron Age, from about 500 BCE to about

spirals and double spirals, very prominent in the

1,000 CE. The lingling-o and other derived shapes,

earrings, pendants and other jewellery articles

such as the split-ring ear ornament, are basic to

– e.g. the padung-padung head ornaments of

the ethnographically documented earrings of

the Karo Batak. Often, these are combined with

Indonesia, Borneo and the Philippines.

horned-shaped or crescent moon headresses and

Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia

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crowns, worn by both men and women. From

originating in the Neolithic period still persisted in

the 5 century CE, Indian, Middle Eastern, Islamic

the warriors’ outfit. Basically, it comprised of animal

and Chinese influences were assimilated into

teeth, claws and tusks (bear, tiger, leopard, canine

regional jewellery, especially in the gold ornaments.

and boar) strung with round or oblong glass or

More generally, this occurrence coincided with the

stone beads to create necklaces and pendants. Also

development of international trade and navigational

included were large discs and/or crescent moon

techniques in the Proto-Historic period. Glass and

pectorals made of shell or metal. The animals’ teeth

other beads still have ritual uses in many Dayak

would symbolise force, virility and social status in

societies (Munan 1991 and 2005).

these tribal communities and the glass beads,







wealth. Here, gender symbolism is also related to

can be observed in the archipelago. The first is

the uses of the ornaments – wild boar tusks, fangs

scattered tribal groups, the hunter-gatherer bands

and other feline teeth being manly attributes. On

in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Seram and

the other hand, it could be remarked that other

Halmahera. The second is larger chiefdoms such as

shapes, such as the mamuli pendants (Sumba) and

the Batak, Nias and Toraja with distinct territorial

duri-duri earrings (Batak, Sumatra) which evoke

domains, each ruled by its own headman or raja.

the female genitalia, are deemed to be protective

This was especially relevant on the Lesser Sunda

charms. They ward off evil and at the same time

Islands of Flores, Sumba and Timor. Lastly, there are

represent ideas of fertility and “life” (Jasper & Mas

the kingdoms, sultanates and principalities which

Pirngadie 1927 and 1930, Granucci 2005).

have authority over a coastal or inland region.

Tribal societies in Indonesia existed well before

The population of Indonesia is made up of

the first states emerged in West Java, Sumatra

over 400 distinct ethnic groups, each with their

and Eastern Borneo, between the 3rd and

own language and culture. This number can be

5th centuries CE. Semi-settled agriculturists and

narrowed to about 60 larger clusters of peoples,

nomadic hunter-gatherers would have formed

corresponding to linguistic-cultural areas. Although

symbiotic relationships and trade networks among

the Manfred Giehmann Collection covers only

peoples on the coasts, in the deep interior and

about half of the latter, it is representative of the

in mountainous areas. The notions relating to

styles and craftmanship of the major ethnic groups

cosmology and life cycle form the backbone of

in Indonesia, with the exception of the more

ceremonial practices in tribal societies, especially

Indianised cultures of Java, Bali and Madura, and

transition rites performed at birth, puberty, marriage

the culturally Melanesian societies of West Papua.

and death (Sahlins 1968). Among Indonesian tribal

For the connoisseur of Indonesian art and

societies, beliefs associated with the corporeal

cultures, the tribal features remain strong and

human body and soul were closely tied to the use

older shapes can be found alongside the newly

of body ornamentation and jewellery. Traditional

introduced ones. While metallurgy and jewellery

beliefs emphasize the spiritual protection of the

techniques have been expanding since the first

person against bad influences (dangerous spirits,

centuries of the current era – coinciding with the

ghosts, diseases and black magic). From young, an

beginning of Indian presence in the archipelago

individual would be protected by a set of bangles

– in the remote upland areas (Northern Luzon,

and charms; later in age protective ornaments would

Borneo and Sulawesi), an older set of adornments

include tattooing – in this regard the Mentawai Introduction

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people and the Iban of West Borneo are probably

Timor, Alor, Maluku), “wife-taking” and “wife-

the most spectacular examples – and the wearing

giving” descent groups are distinguished. Basically

of ikat textiles decorated with prophylactic patterns

they correspond to clans and lineages in the village

on the most sensitive parts of the body (loin cloths,

and hamlet communities. The “wife-givers” possess

sarong, belts, head and shoulder cloths). Small

a higher status compared to the “wife-takers”; the

children, particularly prone to supernatural attacks,

former are considered to be ritually superior. Among

were protected by bead charms, bracelets and

the Batak Toba in Sumatra, bride price is made up

necklaces. Customary (adat) jewellery not only

of weapons (piso), which are considered as “male

included the obvious (headbands, necklace sand

gifts”, while the ritual cloths (ulos) are “female

armbands), but in some cases “invasive” forms of

gifts” that accompany the transfer of the bride to

adornment such as heavy earrings, nose quills and

the wife-takers. In Central Timor among the Tetum,

foreskin inserts that elongated and even deformed

“male goods” given out of the lineage by the sons

the natural body. The criteria of beauty, according to

of wife-takers to the wife-givers include gold or

tribal custom, had to accord with traditional beliefs.

silver jewellery, weapons, buffalos and horses, while

In this regard, the personal adornments of

the latter reciprocate with “female goods” such as

the Tanimbar islanders in Southeast Maluku are

bead necklaces, ikat cloth and pigs. In one particular

especially interesting. The ornaments show an

pattern of a circulating type, the marriages would

impressive pageantry and combine delicate gold

link several descent groups on successive generations

jewellery (filigree ear pendants, embossed and

in a cycle, involving at least three clans (A > B > C

repoussé breast pendants, woven gold chains)

> A). The wife-takers would present “male gifts”

with ivory armbands and distinct cowry shell

(gold jewellery, swords, cattle) to the wife-givers’

necklaces (wangpar). Anklets for males were made

clan, who would in turn reciprocate by giving

of rattan or palm fibre and for females, brass.

“female goods” (textiles, food, silver coins) to the

Various earrings and different headgear, including

former. This type of exchange corresponds generally

ikat cloths, feathers and beads, were used in a

to a unilineal descent system where individuals

sophisticated way by both sexes. It is likely that the

are members of their mothers’ or fathers’ clan or

finer gold jewels used on the Tanimbar, such as the

lineage, and is observed in both matrilineal and

gold chains, pendants and earrings, came from the

patrilineal societies. (Wouden, 1968)

Kisar and Luang areas in the west or other places in the Lesser Sunda islands.


The bilateral descent system shows more variation in the social organisation. Under this

The social context of the pusaka jewellery in

arrangement, kinship and kindred relations are

Indonesia should be mentioned. Jewellery was

reckoned both on the father’s and mother’s sides

an obligatory item at the ceremonial exchanges

symmetrically. It is common in both small-scale

of goods and presentations taking place during

societies, such as the hunter-gatherers, horticulturists,

engagements and marriages. These exchanges

agriculturists, e.g. the Punan/Penan and Dayak in

were distinguished according to the kinship systems

Borneo, the Toraja in Sulawesi, and in the larger

in use. In an asymmetrical matrimonial exchange,

peasant societies such as the Malays in Sumatra and

mostly associated with the chiefdom’s socio-political

Borneo, and the Bugis and Mandar in Sulawesi.

organisation, as in Sumatra (Batak, Nias) and in the

Another important universal concept seen in

eastern regions of the archipelago (Flores, Sumba,

both systems is that of the “ancestral house” under

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A Tanimbar bride showing her wedding adornment Mid 1920 The two pairs of elongated shell armbands worn by this bride are especially impressive. She also wears a necklace comparable to that seen on page 314.

the authority of those of the highest rank, usually

sacred. According to indigenous ideas, they protect

the descendents of the village or clan founders,

the house and its descendants, thus ensuring the

as opposed to branch or subsidiary houses. It

clan’s continuity. They are passed down from one

characterised both unilineal and bilateral kinship

generation to another. Most of these jewellery,

systems. According to the rank of its founders or its

either of metal or other materials, can be classified

clan among the marriage partners, the “ancestral

with the ritual weapons (kris, swords, daggers,

house” is distinguished from the “branch houses”

lances and shields) and ikat textiles used in the

stemming from it (in Minangkabau, Sumba, Timor,

frame of traditional adat ceremonies (Taylor &

Savu and Roti). The inalienable pusaka jewellery are

Aragon 1991, De Jonge & van Dijk 1995). The oral

“owned” by the house, they cannot be sold but are

knowledge, stories, legends and myths explaining

inherited by the descendants of the founders – those

the origins and functions of the jewellery was

actually staying in the house – of each generation.

part of their power. The sacred pusaka received

The house is ideally considered as an everlasting

offerings yearly during ceremonies to strengthen

kinship unit. Perhaps the Toraja’s noble house,

their ritual efficacy. In Eastern Indonesia, especially

tongkonan, best exemplifies these aspects within an

in Flores and Sumba, the possession of inalienable

ambilineal descent system, i.e. the reckoning of all

gold ornaments considered as pusaka coexisted

the descendants from an ancestral couple.

with the acquisition of gold and silver jewellery

The ancient heirlooms (pusaka) bestowed

through exchanges. Successive feasts would be

by the founding ancestors are considered to be

linked to the uses of jewellery, entitling individuals


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Bracelet with gecko East Java Bronze D: 6.5cm Archaic bronze bracelet from the pre-Majapahit period or earlier. RGHT: A Meo warrior and priest from Mata Amarasi Circa 1940

to wear specific ornaments. At this point gender

OPPOSITE: Detail of a Dong Son-style drum found on Pulau Sangeang (Sumbawa) Bronze D: 111cm

Sumba, there are “male” and “female” jewellery,

Similar kettle drums manufactured in Tonkin, North Vietnam between 500 BCE to 100 CE are found throughout Southeast Asia, including insular Indonesia. Referred to as Dong Son after the village they were first discovered, these are often found in Bronze-Age burial grounds. This large example is now in the Museum Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta.

distinctions are also relevant in connection to the valuables exchanged in marriage alliances, e.g. in gold chains and mamuli pendants respectively – the latter are divided again into “male” and “female” according to details in craftmanship, each with its own realm of influence. Some ancient ornaments were equated with the existence and continuity of the ancestral house, domain or clan. They were exhibited only during processions, adat ceremonies, dances and other important celebrations held within the community. Others were used by priests or shamans during curing rites to communicate with spirits or “bargain” for the souls of the owners, because it was believed that a person’s soul was attached to his or her ancestral jewellery. Most of the time, however, these extraordinary objects would be kept in wooden chests or baskets shrouded in cloth, because it was taboo (pemali) to place them in view of children or outsiders. The intrinsic value of the Manfred Giehmann Collection – the high quality and variety of

should be conserved with care as the wayang,














contemporary pieces – should be stressed. It

recognised as masterpieces of World Heritage in

will no doubt become a source of inspiration

Indonesia. Jewellery, inextricably linked to other

for artists, designers and scholars alike. Notably,

art forms, is part and parcel of ethnic Indonesian

these items were made according to traditional

culture just as betelnut, sirih leaf and pinang nut-

techniques. Conservation of the tangible

chewing. In this sense, jewellery is also a living art

and intangible cultural heritage

which evolves over time. For now, this book will

of a country should include as

be a key resource for discovering beautiful ethnic

well adornments which are at

jewellery. It is also a comprehensive inventory of

the core of the Austronesian

an outstanding tradition that is representative of

cultures established in the

Indonesian tribal arts.

archipelago more than 4,000 years ago. In many places, in fact, local cultures originating from






Austronesian thriving.


intangible crafts of jewellery-making 20

Dr. Antonio J. Guerreiro Expert on Southeast Asian Arts and Cultures Institut de Recherches sur le Sud-Est asiatique (CNRS-Université de Provence, Marseille) & SEEA, Musée du quai Branly, Paris, ICOM-France member (UNESCO, Paris)

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Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity, Creativity and Evolution  

Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity, Creativity and Evolution is a compelling introduction to the little known visual power and beau...

Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity, Creativity and Evolution  

Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity, Creativity and Evolution is a compelling introduction to the little known visual power and beau...

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