Sorrowing Purse (left)
Ceramic, satin cord and trim, approx 11 x 6 cm
This Do><ian palm purse would traditionally hold a black pearl (and on some occasions a small keepsake of the person passed) for a mourning period of up to 16 months. Subsequent to this period the black pearl would be replaced with many varieties of symbolic knots said to contain the essence of the departed . There were many different variations of these purses from the more refined (as in this example) to the more rustic. The knots or 'gnarlements' varied widely, from simple 'grief knots' (a knot constructed from the combination of a thief knot and a binding knot) to more elaborate decorative knots. At the end of the mourning period the knots would be untied in order to release the object of mourning from their earthly ties.