| Breast ornament [marangga]

West Sumbanese people
west Sumba, Indonesia

Breast ornament [marangga] 19th century or earlier
gold, cinnabar
16.5 (h) x 24.2 (w) x 0.8 (d) cm
Purchased 2005
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2005.666


Heirloom treasures are essential to ritual and communication with the ancestors. Across eastern Indonesia gold pectorals are created in the arresting double-axe form. The striking marangga of Sumba are the largest. As ancestral treasures, marangga are stored in the attic of the ruler’s great house, and only viewed on important ceremonial occasions. The distinctive marangga shape adorns village altars and the grave monuments of west Sumba nobility.

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