Ear pendants ('mamuli') were part of the store of sacred heirlooms, along with old textiles and porcelains, handed down through the noble families of the island of Sumba, at the eastern end of the Indonesian island chain. Secret and ritualistic objects, 'mamuli' were brought down from dark attic stores by the 'rato', or priest, and used in ceremonies to make contact with the spirits ('marapu'). It was only for special occasions such as funerals that these spiritually charged objects were released from their dark hiding places, for fear that their great powers would bring havoc and disaster upon those who saw them. With such powers accorded them the 'mamuli' were regarded as emblems of the social and political powers of a family and its lineage.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 300.
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 346 (colour illus.).
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 300 (colour illus.).
Ewen McDonald (Australia) (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, Sydney, 1994, 187 (colour illus.).
'Masters of the House: Gold Pendants from Eastern Indonesia' by Robyn Maxwell., Australian National Gallery Association News Sep 1988-Oct 1988, Sep 1988-Oct 1988.
Douglas Newton (b.1920) (Author), Islands and ancestors, Indigenous Styles of Southeast Asia, New York, 1988.
Susan Rodgers (b.1949) (Author), Power and gold: jewelry from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines from the collection of the Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva, Switzerland, 1985, 185 (colour illus.).
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994.
Symbols and Ceremonies: Indonesian Textile Traditions, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 13 Apr 2006–28 May 2006.