Thursday, September 6, 2007

Personal Ornaments

Series of deer teeth incised with geometric signs from the burial discovered in Saint Germain-la-Riviere (Gironde), France.


Double strand of basally incised wallaby teeth on the cranium of a 4,000 year old male burial Roonka, South Australia.









15 comments:

big bad teacher said...

Remember, your comments for this post are due by Monday Sept. 10th.

charlie said...

People of ancient times might have wanted to decorate their bodie's just the way we do today. People always wear different kinds of jewelry and things do decorate themselves with. People of the past probably also liked to do the same. They just used the things around them to make the beads and decorations for the neclaces and such. The different materials in the jewelry might have represented a social ranking or how much certain people were looked up to.

exquisitedesign said...

In Australia, Aboriginal tribes used personal ornamentation for religious and ceremonial purposes. The carvings found on teeth and other objects reflected relationships to ancestors and the ownership of land. I'm not quite sure if these teeth were worn as an every day item, but they were used to show some kind of status during special occasions, including burials.

www.aboriginalart.com.au/culture/religion.html

retroclide said...

Why not use the teeth of animals for decortative purposes? These cultures used every part of the animal that they hunted. I can completely understand why they would use teeth for decorative purposes. What else are you going to use to do with them. Personally, I'm not going to be wearing extracted teeth around my neck. I'll stick to silver.
I don't think that they have any purpose other than being decorative. Humans like to adorn things and themselves regardless of ones penchants for personal adornment or interior design. Think about your own accessories. Do all your ear rings, rings, necklaces, etc. have sentamental, cultural or religious value? Yeah, that's that I thought...probably not. We wear a lot of what we wear because it looks good. I'm pretty sure our ancestors were doing the same thing.

Livefish said...

The people who had these bones might have used it in a ritual or maybe a way of telling someone's future. I know that in the middle ages some people used certain bones to tell of a death or to tell of something bad is going to happen. They could have just been bored and found these bones and made toys out of them for the children or even for jewelry.

Luke said...

i bet they were used in ancient ritual tradition dances. once the ancient austrailian body loses conscious to the ritual music and the body crosses over to the other side, the deer teeth with symbols and geometric signs help keep the bad spirits away.. kind of like how american indians do it.

Naner said...

These seem to be a decorative addition. This would just add to the idea that ancient people ACTUALLY were much more creative than they are given credit for. I mean really at this point how can anyone see these people as purely savage; they made painting, sculptures, jewelry, and even interior design. Either way, I can see these being worn only by the highest members because they just give off a feeling that they were meant to be special.

artperson said...

Definitely a crude art form. Kind of like taking grandmas cranium when she passes and making a decorative vase from her skeletal remains. Kind of interesting though. I wonder why they would use other humans skeletal remains, or what kind of representative qualities these art works had.

duranls1 said...

in ancient times bones and teeth have been used as ornaments, along with other parts of other human bodies (or sometimes their own body parts), this can be used by spiritual meaning, as a ritual, or just to show more beauty in the bodies. In modern times we still use animal body parts for decorative purposes as pelts, furs for coats and others, claws and fangs for pendants and necklaces, also even today in some parts bones are still used for weapons as spears heads, body parts of animals and humans has several meanings in the decorative issue, for new and ancient times.

Robinson said...

This website suggests that the band of teeth was actually a head band that became cemented to the skull over time.

http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~pbrown3/Roonka.html

What is known about the culture would suggest that whatever animal the teeth came from (wallaby or kangaroo) was this man's totem (the animal the man or his tribe connected themselves to spiritually depending on which resource you consult). Presumably the burial decoration would have ensured his continued connection with his totem.

As far as our own self decorative practices, it is seldom simply that we "think it looks good." There is always some underlying cultural meaning. Modern body piercing comes to mind. In colonial times, young girls would get their ears pierced to advertise their availability for marriage. Today, naval piercings signify sexual maturity/availability. We may have difficulty accepting that idea while we live it, but once we remove ourselves and look at the practice from a greater distance, the significance of the practice unmistakable.

Love the use of the blog in the classroom, by the way.

James A. said...

The skull probably goes along the same lines as body modification today in Africa/South America/Australia where they will modify there body (rods thru the nose, discs in there ear, or multiple rings around there neck) for beauty purposes, to show wealth or social status.

The teeth might have been carved and placed with person after death kind of like we do today with items that mean alot to the person.

Kaitlin said...

I looked up some info on the website below. It mentions how the jewelery that the Egyptian's wore siginified a type of social status. I wonder if the teeth signified a type of accomplishment. mybe the teeth represented how many men he had killed in battle or something impressive like that. :)I also wonder if it could signify the amount of successful hunts he had.
http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/crowns/jewellery.htm

jpayne said...

To the people back then, using every part of the animal was vital, and maybe there was some sigificance to the teeth that they created the geometric signs on them. Maybe they got bored with putting all their art on cave walls so they decided to use the teeth!? Who knows! Im not really sure what to think of for this one!

As far as the skeleton with the teeth on the forehead, I see it being part of some sort of ritual. Maybe it symbolizes wealth or higher a higher stance among the people. Maybe the teeth were important and when someone passed away, they did this to show some sort of appreciation to that person. Or maybe it really was a headband that was worn all the time, for whatever reason, and it literally grew into the head. There could have been a lot of purposes to this.

aydin1107 said...

Skulls have been used through out history to depict meaning, whether it was jewelry or paintings.
One site I found was describing some different meanings the skull has represented in history. It's: http://www.designboom.com/history/death.html. It talks of one painting, Hans Holbein’s painting ‘the ambassadors’ where, “the anamorphic skull can be connected to the contrast
between discursive reason and intellectual vision as different stages of human knowledge. http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth214/Ambassadors_Home.html said about the skull in the picture that it, “calls to our attention human transience, makes explicit the limitation of human vision, where divine vision transcends the human limitations of time and place. “ It also states “Holbein's decision to have the skull cover the center of the floor pattern seems intentional. In the syntax of the painting, human mortality obscures a direct vision of God, the absolute center of the world.” I think these are quite different than the views, meanings, and impressions that seeing skulls leave on us today. It’s interesting the development or abbreviation of meanings over time.

bigbadteacher said...

This post has been graded.