Masks & Maskettes

Using age old techniques and tools that have changed little in the last 400 years the creators of these works of art have imbibed much of the Timorese spirit of independence and self-sufficiency in to each unique piece. Hand carved from Bamboo, hand tanned leather, bone, buff, base of bamboo plants, bases of palm trees, bottoms of palm fronds. Whatever material will lend itself to the task of mask creation.

True to the West Timorese Animist tradition the masks that come to us are unaffected by the world outside the villages and kampongs. Each mask is an original, as individual as its carver.

Timorese masks fall into 3 main categories. Those made with paddle handles that are used to ‘hide’ one’s face when raiding a neighbour in times of hunger, also used by Atoni men to ‘put on a face’ when dancing. Others are made to be placed inside the hut above the front entrance that repel anyone with evil intent and allow people of good intent to pass through the doorway, a bit like the Star Trek force field.

The 3rd description from a fellow field collector goes as follows “Then there is the ritualistic mask – the ones that find you – the ones that were made before you found them and these are the masks considered to have the greatest magic.”

All items have been treated to AQIS standards.
Copyright Julie Emery 22/02/2022©