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Spectacular gold bracelets such as these were worn in pairs by the Bugis people, an Islamic, trading, seafaring people of south Sulawesi in the Indonesian archipelago.
Each of the examples here has ribbed walls all the way up with each rib further delineated by lines of extremely fine pearled filigree gild wire. The walls have diamond-shaped pierced window-like cartouches filled with lace-like scrolling, interlaced gold filigree. The upper and lower edges are decorated by single rows of prominent bud-like protuberances overlaid with fine filigree work. The combination of ribbed, pierced walls and bud-like edging is unusual. Related bracelets have been published but none have this particular combination of motifs and design. According to Richter (2000, p. 215), the ribs shown the length of each bracelet represent the cervical vertebrae of the buffalo.
The bracelets narrow as they progress, matching the shape of the lower arm and wrist. They have been made in two hinged halves, with the halves being secured by long gold pins.
The pair are stable, robust and wearable. They are in fine condition. One bracelet has a small repair inside – silver strip inside covers a torn area of gold but this is not visible from the outside of the bracelet. The gold content is likely to be around 16 carats.
Related pairs, which are variously attributed to the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries are illustrated in Marzio (2011, p. 279), Richter (2000, p. 215), and Richter & Carpenter (2102, p. 215-222).
Marzio, F., The Glassell Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Masterworks of Pre-Columbian, Indonesian, and African Gold, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2011.
Richter, A., The Jewelry of Southeast Asia, Thames & Hudson, 2000.
Richter, A., & B. Carpenter, Gold Jewellery of the Indonesian Archipelago, Editions Didier Millet, 2012. :private collection.