Mamuli are amulets and ornaments worked in the shape of the Greek letter omega, and may be made of sheet brass, silver or even gold. The basic omega shape, split up the centre, represents the female sex and small examples are commonly presented to brides, often forming part of the trousseau in the form of earrings, pendants or head dress elements.
Mamuli are considered either male or female. and male versions, such as this example, are often lavishly decorated with a variety of human, animal, and bird figures, and have narrative tableaux repeated on both sides of the base.
This exceptional example is one of the largest I have seen, , seven inches (19 cm) tall and 6 inches (15 cm ) wide, and features the arrival of a high status bridegroom and his attendants at the ceremony. Large and ornate examples like this one were worn and displayed only on important ceremonial occasions and played an important role in marriage exchanges and funerals
In this finely detailed example, the groom is a man of status and so depicted on horseback. Both the horse's bridle and the groom's head dress are decorated with abstract metal buffalo horns, a sign of wealth and prestige. The rider is accompanied by five attendants, two on either side of the horse and the fifth to hold a parasol over his master's head. The scene is duplicated on the opposite side of the base.
Mamuli , and in fact almost all Sumbanese metal body and ritual ornaments, were traditionally made by specialist metal workers from the neighbouring island of Savu who were renowned for the skill and complexity of their workmanship.
Condition: This complex old piece, circa 1940, shows signs of wear and use, but is in intact condtion.
Price: 575.00 AUD