- Notes accompanying object: : 'Seed necklace from Lajamanu tribe - Central Desert. Made by Jodie Watkins, purchased at the Aboriginal Shop in Darwin.'
'Threaded on human hair. Although the desert grows very cold on winter nights, its people never had to wear heavy clothing, such as the fur rugs of the coastal and southern areas. Instead, they wore string tassles, waistbands and simple headbands. All wore nose bones and the men dressed their hair in elaborate chignong. In everyday life no other ornaments were needed, the body cicatrices denoting status and individuality. Women and children enjoyed the simple social ritual of adorning each other's hair with grass seeds, attaching them to form a fringe around the face, and occasionally little pellets of clay were added for the same decorative purpose. Womens seed necklaces were certainly made and worn, probably then, as now, for the womens ceremonies centering on sexuality and fecundity and for others that formed an adjunct to the mens separate initiation ceremonies. The necklaces are now also made as craft items for sale. Seeds of the ininti tree are found in large quantities, either in their pods still on the tree, or fallen in scattered quantities amongst the sand and leaf debris below. One of the favourite pastimes of the women and children is to collect the seeds as they search for food. The seeds may be yellow, orange or brilliant red. The colours can be clearly picked out as the children and women run the sand through their hands, allowing the wind to separate it from the seeds. Ininti and witchinbarara, the small round brown seeds, are formed into long strands, generally on hand spun string made from human hair, although this is occasionally replaced by machine spun wool. Necklaces are in fact decorative body ornaments, worn in lengthy harnesses over one shoulder, across the chest and under the arms. They are also wound around the head to form headbands to hold feather headdresses in place. These might always have been secular in nature, as very young girls are encouraged to wear the regalia when learning the dances from their older relatives. A similar ininti seed necklace was collected by early ethnographer Balkwin Spencer in 1912, testifying to the continuity of this ancient form of body decoration.'
- Sarah Edwards collected this artefact whilst working as a field assistant in ethnobotany for the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, based in the Northern Territory Herbarium in Palmerston.
- Record posted on March 28, 2009 and last updated March 28, 2009