Southeast Asia, southern Indonesia, Timor, Belu province, Atoni peoples, ca. 19th to early 20th century CE. A cut cow's skull with dramatic scrimshaw carvings of two abstract, anthropomorphic figures, their bodies composed of a series of densely incised triangular and linear geometric forms. They stand on either side of an incised banner with similarly dense decoration. Above this decoration are two small, round eyes, a downturned, small mouth, an incised nose, and incised decorations on the "cheeks" that match those of the banner. A hole drilled above each orbit provides a place for affixing the mask. The Atoni people are the dominant native group on Timor, who speak a Mayalo-Polynesian dialect, Timorese. Unlike other ethnic groups on Timor, they practice agriculture rather than fishing. Masks like this one are used as part of rituals relating to the planting and harvest cycle. Size: 7.2" W x 8.65" H (18.3 cm x 22 cm)
Provenance: private Eason Eige collection, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
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