Summary

This extremely rare headdress, or tyemurrelye, was composed of small animal bones attached to a head-ring using human hair and spinifex resin. It was worn by an Arrernte woman at the death of her husband. She was also expected to remain silent for at least six months. By wearing the headdress, it was believed that the spirit of the deceased husband could see that his wife had mourned him respectfully and expressed her deep sorrow at his passing. During the final part of the morning ritual, the widow removed the headdress, broke it up and threw it into the grave of the husband. This was not only meant to symbolise an end to the burial ritual, but to remind the spirit of the husband not to return and injure his wife and relatives or make them sick.

Physical Description

Mourning chaplet made from spun hair string, spinifex resin, animal bones and ochre.

Local Name

tyemurrelye

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