Adorned

Adorned was curated jointly by Anna Edmundson, (curator of the Ethnographic collection) and Chris Boylan of the Oceanic Art Society (OAS). The exhibition focuses upon the most outstanding examples of 19th and 20th century Oceanic jewellery drawn from the private collections of OAS members and the permanent collections of the Macleay Museum.

The exhibition illustrates both the contemporary and traditional diversity of body adornment within the Oceanic region. We have chosen jewellery and body ornament as a theme because of spectacular range and magnificent craftsmanship and artistry found in jewellery right across Oceania.

The energy and significance of Oceanic jewellery is a fundamental expression of artistic creativity and highlights the ongoing cultural value of these items in complex systems of trade, social relations, ethnic identity and aesthetics.

Dolphin teeth bride price, Solomon Islands.

The exhibition brings together a wide range of material from some of Australia’s most prominent collections. Many of these pieces have never been publicly displayed before. By drawing on the personal collections of some of the world’s leading authorities on Oceanic art, combined with the rarest treasures of the Macleay Museum, this exhibition represents an extremely significant body of art works and expertise. These resources have been harnessed to provide a fresh and critical approach to the study of Oceanic jewellery.

In addition, the traditional is contrasted with the contemporary, in a showcase displaying the works of some of the leading contemporary jewellers of Australia and New Zealand who work in similar media and idioms.

(Curated by Anna Edmundson and Chris Boylen)


Adorned was launched at the Macleay Museum on March 3rd 1999 and ran until January 2001.