Sumba, Indonesia
19th Century

The tribes of Sumba are known for these elaborate combs created from tortoise shell. Some are more elaborate than others, but this example is the only one I have ever handled with human figures incorporated into the design. Young women that wear these combs are announcing they have entered puberty, which is a very important stage in the life of a Sumba women. The more elaborate combs are also worn by Noble women. In this beautiful carving there are also roosters, deer and an "Andung" - a skull tree motif. Given the fragile medium used to create this beautiful comb, it is miraculously, still in great condition.

This comb stands 5 inches tall by 5.5 inches in length.
IN 2-14-14 / SOLD