Jewellery of the Batak in Sumatra, Indonesia
The first book to examine the rich jewellery traditions of the Batak people in Indonesia is a gorgeous tribute to a vanishing way of life. Batak jewellery is characterized by a wide variety of materials and forms, and has many functions. Jewels can be status symbols, badges of rank, attributes of membership into a certain age group, amulets and talismans, or simply ornaments. Men, women, small children, and even babies were once adorned with gold, silver, brass, bronze, or the gold and copper alloy known as suasa. Today, the Batak wear traditional jewelry only for celebrations like weddings, and these stunning works are rapidly disappearing, being melted down or sold. The nearly 300 precious works shown here are artifacts of a once-flourishing jewelry tradition.
Achim Sibeth is a former curator of the Southeast Asian collection at the Museum of World Cultures in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Since April 2010, he has been the Curator and Chief Editor of the Mandala Foundation in Singapore.