9119

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    Pair of Dayak Solid Brass Pendant Ear Pendants

    Kenyah/Kayan Dayak People, Borneo, Malaysia & Indonesia
    early 20th century

    length: 6.6cm, width: 3cm, combined weight: 266g

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    Provenance

    private Dutch collection

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This pair of cast solid brass ear pendants weighs around 130g each (or 266g overall).

    Ear pendants of this weight allowed male and female Dayak tribes-people to stretch their earlobes to beyond their shoulders.

    The Dayaks inhabit the interior regions of Borneo which is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

    Ear ornaments of brass were signs of prestige and power.

    Earrings of this size and weight would have been used to stretch the ear lobes to a remarkable length. Thereafter, great care was needed to prevent the ear lobe from breaking. Women tended to stretch their ear lobes much more than men: it was considered effeminate for a Dayak man to have lobes stretched beyond the shoulders. Today, the practice of elongating the earlobes has largely died out among the Dayaks.

    See Rodgers (1995, p. 280) and Carpenter (2011, p. 155) for related pairs.

    The pair here is in excellent condition, have obvious age and a particularly elegant shape. Later reproductions about but these are the genuine item.

    References

    Brinkgreve, F., & D.J. Stuart-Fox (eds), Living with Indonesian Art: The Frits Liefkes Collection, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde, 2013.

    Carpenter, B., Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity and Evolution, Editions Didier Millet, 2011.

    Hoek, C., et al, Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, Pepin Press, 2004.

    Richter, A., The Jewelry of Southeast Asia, Thames & Hudson, 2000.

    Rodgers, S., Power and Gold: Jewelry from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, The Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva, 3rd ed. 1995.

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