Summary

A number of examples of this ornament were collected by Baldwin Spencer who was hosted on Bathurst and Melville Islands in 1911 by the legendary buffalo shooter, Joe Cooper.

Physical Description

A neck ornament made from feathers attached to a length of human hair string knotted at one end.

Local Name

Tokwianga

Significance

Around 1993, a group of Tiwi artists from Jilimara Arts on Melville Island visited the museum to see the collections and one old woman amongst them was the late Blanche Puruntatameri. On seeing the feathered neck ornament called tokairinga collected by Baldwin Spencer in 1911 and those collected around the same time by others, like this example, she was keen to understand how they had been made. A year or so later Blanche visited again and asked to see these neck ornaments once more, and this time stuck her fingers right into the centre of the feathered ball remarking, 'Ah, that's how they did it!' After her first visit, Blanche had unsuccessfully tried to make these ornaments relying on photographs taken during that visit, and she was determined to discover the detail of their construction in order to make them properly, and ensured she was included in the next visit to Melbourne in order to revisit the museum and check again on how these were made.

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