Ear pendant

This kind of ornamental brass ear pendant (‘duri-duri’) was worn by Batak women and was not worn in pairs. It features a curled snake-like creature, with its head pointing downwards and sharp protrusions along its back. The snake motif represents protective forces and some say that the mythic animal depicted is the ‘sibaganding’ snake, important in Toba myths in pre-Christian times. Jewellery has many different functions in island Southeast Asia, for example it was used to indicate social positions, to symbolise the importance of the social relationship between the giver and the receiver during gift exchanges, and to serve as miniature religious objects.

Late 19th-early 20th century
North Sumatra
Object size: 3.8 x 4.1 x 0.7 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Edmond Chin