Earring – Kemene Type, Moluccas

Tanimbar, Moluccas
circa 18th – 19th century
Height: 7.5 cm; weight: 42.8 gm
ex-Abdulgani collection

Superb heavy gold earring in the form of a tavu, the stylized anthropomorphic ancestral altar at the heart of the traditional clan house. Strong connotations to the ‘tree of life’ are easily discernible and such earrings would certainly have been seen in conjunction with fertility and thus, by extension, continuity of the sacred lineage of the clan founders and venerated ancestors.

Insulinde Indonesian Arts