Women's Ornamental Comb (hai kara jangga)

East Sumba
20th century, 1950–2000
Unknown, 19th century, Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander

Object Place: East Sumba, Nusa Tenggara (form. Lesser Sundas), Indonesia


Overall: 16 x 18 x 5 cm (6 5/16 x 7 1/16 x 1 15/16 in.) Lender accessory (Approximately): 16 x 20 x 5 cm (6 5/16 x 7 7/8 x 1 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Jewelry



Interest in ornaments and utilitarian objects from Indonesian arts grew strongly in the 1970s. Among such objects were delicate tortoiseshell diadems from eastern Sumba. The carved openwork upper register reveals a pair of roosters on top, confronting each other. The lower register features a kind of tree that served as village ritual sites. Fathers traditionally gave their daughters a tortoiseshell diadem at puberty.


Acquired in New York by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart