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Timor Carvings

Timor Carvings

Gallery 2

14 February – 26 March, 2014

Timor Carvings

14 February – 26 March, 2014

Timor island, in the Lesser Sunda Islands, has a long history of influx of populations going back to the early 1500s when Portuguese traders set up a base there while trading sandalwood. Dutch traders working the spice trade arrived in the early 1600s and set up on the western end of the island. Further influxes of Indonesian Malay settlers along the coastal areas in later centuries saw the predominantly Melanesian Aboriginal people of Timor move inland to the more mountainous highland country.

Amongst the Aboriginal inhabitants traditional practices of Animism and Ancestor worship predominate. Each village has a sacred house with a custodian priest and a surrounding taboo area. Because of former coastal warfare, villages and isolated houses are surrounded by stockades, and houses are usually raised on piles.

While subsistence farming is at the heart of traditional Timor economy, local craft manufacture of cotton cloth, finely woven fabrics, woven and patterned baskets, forged iron weapons and tools, brass ornaments cast by the lost-wax process, and carved sculptures and masks are specific to rural villages. Here the practice of Animism, or nature-worship, is incorporated with the carving of ancestral statues and masks, which have a ritualistic function.

Dancing, singing, costume and musical ceremony (using gongs and drums) are all used to celebrate or ask for help from the deities. Some occasions that call for these ceremonies may include to ask for successful crop planting, for prosperity, for good weather for the spinning of cotton, for the smooth running of village or regional affairs, for weddings and other celebrations, and for the offering of friendship and reaffirmation of allegiances through royalties or tribute along with the ever present betel nut.

Ancestral figure carvings are produced to honour the departed, and statues are carved and usually kept in the false roof of the lopo. They can be brought out to re-tell stories and as a means to remember past family members. Similarly guardian spirits, ancestor figures or totemic spirits are all captured in wood, to be passed down for posterity and used in order to build the spiritual power of the village.

The tradition of tribal art carving has been continued and is practiced by males exclusively. A collector’s estimate suggests that there may be 60 carvers spread throughout Timor. Virtually no carving or weaving occurs in the few towns in Timor – it remains a very village or kampong activity. The majority of carvings originate from the Belu district of Central Timor. The carvers work with local resources such as wood (teak, red cedarwood, eucalyptus and palmwood), bamboo, coconut shell, gourds, bone and fossilised coral.

Other examples of carving crafts include betel nut containers, walking sticks, spinning tops, oware games, spindles and weaving looms, masks, statues of Guardian figures, seats, beds and Timorese doors. Other crafts include jewellery, combs, pots, bamboo food containers, and musical instruments.

 island, in the Lesser Sunda Islands, has a long history of influx of populations going back to the early 1500s when Portuguese traders set up a base there while trading sandalwood. Dutch traders working the spice trade arrived in the early 1600s and set up on the western end of the island. Further influxes of Indonesian Malay settlers along the coastal areas in later centuries saw the predominantly Melanesian Aboriginal people of Timor move inland to the more mountainous highland country.

Amongst the Aboriginal inhabitants traditional practices of Animism and Ancestor worship predominate. Each village has a sacred house with a custodian priest and a surrounding taboo area. Because of former coastal warfare, villages and isolated houses are surrounded by stockades, and houses are usually raised on piles.

While subsistence farming is at the heart of traditional Timor economy, local craft manufacture of cotton cloth, finely woven fabrics, woven and patterned baskets, forged iron weapons and tools, brass ornaments cast by the lost-wax process, and carved sculptures and masks are specific to rural villages. Here the practice of Animism, or nature-worship, is incorporated with the carving of ancestral statues and masks, which have a ritualistic function.

Dancing, singing, costume and musical ceremony (using gongs and drums) are all used to celebrate or ask for help from the deities. Some occasions that call for these ceremonies may include to ask for successful crop planting, for prosperity, for good weather for the spinning of cotton, for the smooth running of village or regional affairs, for weddings and other celebrations, and for the offering of friendship and reaffirmation of allegiances through royalties or tribute along with the ever present betel nut.

Ancestral figure carvings are produced to honour the departed, and statues are carved and usually kept in the false roof of the lopo. They can be brought out to re-tell stories and as a means to remember past family members. Similarly guardian spirits, ancestor figures or totemic spirits are all captured in wood, to be passed down for posterity and used in order to build the spiritual power of the village.

The tradition of tribal art carving has been continued and is practiced by males exclusively. A collector’s estimate suggests that there may be 60 carvers spread throughout Timor. Virtually no carving or weaving occurs in the few towns in Timor – it remains a very village or kampong activity. The majority of carvings originate from the Belu district of Central Timor. The carvers work with local resources such as wood (teak, red cedarwood, eucalyptus and palmwood), bamboo, coconut shell, gourds, bone and fossilised coral.

Other examples of carving crafts include betel nut containers, walking sticks, spinning tops, oware games, spindles and weaving looms, masks, statues of Guardian figures, seats, beds and Timorese doors. Other crafts include jewellery, combs, pots, bamboo food containers, and musical instruments.

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Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009802  |  local wood  |  height 31 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009800  |  local wood  |  height 31 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009803  |  local wood  |  height 23 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009808  |  local wood  |  height 20 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009804  |  local wood  |  height 22 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009801  |  local wood  |  height 32 cm

Timor Pony totem by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Timor Pony totem

Jap 009877  |  local wood  |  height 20 cm

Box with carved birds by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Box with carved birds

Jap 009872  |  local wood  |  length 27 cm

Totemic Bird by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Totemic Bird

Jap 009876  |  local wood  |  length 17 cm

Two Ancestor Figures by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Two Ancestor Figures

Jap 009860  |  local wood  |  height 15 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009830  |  local wood  |  height 28 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009835  |  local wood  |  height 28 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009832  |  local wood  |  height 30 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009833  |  local wood  |  height 30 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009838  |  local wood  |  height 35 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009805  |  local wood  |  height 31 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009806  |  local wood  |  height 21 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009814  |  local wood  |  height 16 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009810  |  local wood  |  height 15 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009813  |  local wood  |  height 18 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009822  |  local wood  |  height 23 cm

Totemic Animal by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Totemic Animal

Jap 009874  |  local wood  |  length 11 cm

Timor Pony totem by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Timor Pony totem

Jap 009878  |  local wood  |  height 17 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009844  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009845  |  local wood  |  height 20 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009849  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009850  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009854  |  local wood  |  height 20 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009846  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009868  |  local wood  |  height 10 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009834  |  local wood  |  height 32 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009815  |  local wood  |  height 17 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009816  |  local wood  |  height 16 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009821  |  local wood  |  height 25 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009823  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009848  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009839  |  local wood  |  height 13 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009847  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009842  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009851  |  local wood  |  height 19 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009852  |  local wood  |  height 18 cm

Stone head by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Stone head

Jap 009870  |  island stone  |  height 10 cm

Stone head by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Stone head

Jap 009869  |  island stone  |  height 12 cm

Stone head by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Stone head

Jap 009879  |  island stone  |  height 8 cm

Mask by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Mask

Jap 009825  |  local wood  |  height 14 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009855  |  local wood  |  height 20 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009857  |  local wood  |  height 18 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009859  |  local wood  |  height 14 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009861  |  local wood  |  height 15 cm

Ancestor Figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Ancestor Figure

Jap 009867  |  local wood  |  height 13 cm

Stone head – Ancestor figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Stone head – Ancestor figure

Jap 009880  |  island stone  |  height 8 cm

Stone head – Ancestor figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Stone head – Ancestor figure

Jap 009881  |  island stone  |  height 7 cm

Stone head – Ancestor figure by Timor Carving

Timor Carving  |  Stone head – Ancestor figure

Jap 009882  |  island stone  |  height 6 cm

 

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