Rock Faces & Families

The Atoni people in the highlands of central West Timor have long placed great meaning on particular stones from nature. It is one of the continued traditions still actively followed in many highland villages today. Carvers imbibe the stone, sometimes invoking their ancestors recreated in this most difficult of mediums. These fetishes represent an excellent example of the true essence of Animist Timor.

‘Special’ rocks whether found in the stomach of an animal or at the base of a cliff or in a special ritual site these rocks and fossils embody the essence of the Animist roots that still pervade Timorese society today. Some are said to give off rainbows when dropped into water. Some are said to spin when placed into large oyster shells and held over sea water. Some are said to sing in response to questions asked.