Chief’s Pectoral 10704

Timor

Gold

19th Century or earlier

2.75 in/7.5 cm 

The tribal societies of the Eastern Islands of Indonesia share multiple common cultural features, even though separated sometimes by great distances. From Timor to Tanimbar and beyond may be observed the custom of the fashioning of precious metal disk pectorals to be worn as emblems of chiefly authority. Shown here is a very early example displaying a classic architecture of a “breast-like” dimple in the center and punched border decoration around the circumference hanging on its original hand-forged gold chain. A patina of this depth is likely to have taken centuries to build up.