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    Early Javanese Gold Cord Weight or Gold Ear Ornament Cast with Human Figures

    Central Java, Indonesia
    8th-9th century

    width: approximately 2cm, depth: 1cm, weight: 12g



    Estate Collection of Tom White MBE, a former UK diplomat who served in Southeast Asia in the 1960s & 1970s.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This cylindrical ornament is of cast solid gold. It is heavy in the hand and if not an ear ornament most likely was intended to serve as a weight for a waist cord – perhaps a Hindu caste cord. It is in ‘C’ form (with a side slit) with tapered, pierced sides, and is decorated with at least three human-like or possibly kinnara figures each with distinct facial features and arms out-stretched as if in ecstasy.

    A similar gold weight is illustrated in Miksic (1990, p. 75) but the detail on the Miksic example is indistinct.

    Probably the item was intended to serve as an ear ornament or a cord weight but Miksic suggests that such items might also has served as ‘rod finials’ perhaps for rods that served some sort of ritual purpose.

    Large quantities of gold jewellery and other items have been found in East and Central Java dating from this period. It was a time when Buddhism and Hinduism seem to have peacefully co-existed at the same time. Both men and women wore ear ornaments at the time.

    This item is in fine condition and has obvious age. Tiny traces of soil are evidence that the ornament was at some time buried.


    Bremer, S., Goud der Goden: Uitt het oude Java, Wereldmuseum Rotterdam Publishers, 2014.

    Miksic, J., Old Javanese Gold, Ideation, 1990.

    Polak, J., Ancient Indonesian Gold of the Central and Eastern Javanese Periods 750-1550: A Selection, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2022.

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