Chinese coins used across Southeast Asian trade networks were frequently incorporated in textile and object design. The small round coins with square apertures are widely known throughout the Indonesian archipelago as ‘Kepeng’. As their intrinsic value as currency waned they were invested with talismanic qualities. Whilst coins were commonly used to provide protection to the wearer, coins of other currencies were also used to demonstrate wealth. Like the headdresses of the ‘Akha’ women of mainland Southeast Asia which are elaborately decorated with coins, this more humble comb also employs glittering coinage to attract onlookers and inform them of the wearer's status.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, April 2015
Comb in form of bird with stand
6.5 x 14.0 x 8.0 cm
Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
Not on display