BELOW: JADE BELT HOOK WITH `CHI’ DRAGON MOTIF, VARIEGATED JADEITE, CHINA, 1700S-1880S, GIFT OF MRS ROSEMARY D CONACHER, 1966, COLLECTION OF THE MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS AND SCIENCES. IMAGE COURTESY OF SOUTHA BOURN – TAASA Review September 2014
The exhibition A fine possession also features ornaments from the Museum’s collection that were worn exclusively by men, including Chinese and Japanese belt toggles and the silver Malay belt buckle.
In some of the Indonesian islands, on ceremonial occasions, aristocratic men wore spectacular headdresses, neckpieces and frontal ornaments which indicated their social status and prowess in such pursuits as communicating with the ancestors and headhunting. Like the crescent-shaped, buffalo-horned gold lamba from the island of Sumba, these heirloom pieces were generally made from precious materials.
Gold has male connotations and was only worked by men, while the repoussée imagery on the lamba shows attributes viewed as male, such as horses with riders, eagles and the sun...