Matjka by Margaret Djarrbalabal


Matjka are chest ornaments worn at ceremony. The spine portion runs down the back and the string is criss-crossed at the front around the breasts. These are worn by either men or women. They are made from hand spun bush string is made from the inner bark of the Banyan tree (ficus viarens), the Kurrajong tree (brachychiton paradoxum) or the Cocky Apple tree (planchonia careya). The bark from the young tree is beaten or chewed whilst still fresh. It is than pounded with a stone to separate the fibres which are then rolled and spun on the thigh. The string is then knitted or knotted to create the matjka.