Two North Western Australian Kimberley Coast Aboriginal Pearl Shell Phallocrypt 'Jakuli'

Two North Western Australian Kimberley Coast Aboriginal Pearl Shell Phallocrypt 'Jakuli'

1800 to 1900 Australia

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Two North Western Australian Kimberley Coast Aboriginal Pearl Shell Phallocrypt 'Jakuli'
Etched with abstract zigzag designs
Once filled with red ochre
Late 19th Century

Sizes: a: 15cm high, 10.5cm wide – 6 ins high, 4 ins wide
b: 16cm high, 11cm wide – 6¼ ins high, 4¼ ins wide
Provenance: Ex London Private collection
Before European influence the Australian aboriginal peoples habitually went naked requiring no clothes during the hot day and staving off the cold at night by sleeping around fires or huddling together for mutual warmth with relatives and dogs.
These pearl shell ornaments were, however, regarded as garments by the men who wore them suspended from a human hair cord around their waists as pubic covers. The apparently purely geometrical designs have totemic significance with some specimens showing emu tracks or human figures. They could only be worn by the initiated and although originating in the Kimberley region they were traded across vast distances.
Medium
Shell
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