As with Gourd, Bone and Buffalo this style of Lime Powder container is a very specific art practised by only a few carvers. The wood used is almost always Red Cedarwood or Teak. As always the creators of these amazing containers add their signature to the wood, carving effigies and motifs that represent their totemic guardian spirit or ancestor figure.
The precision with which they are created using the simplest of tools has to be seen to be appreciated, always the carving matches perfectly around the tube of wood and each represents hours of work. The motifs include the Timorese version of the Kaif or diamond hook & rhomba which represents the carvers’ clan and totemic guardian spirits or Crocodiles/Besi that feature heavily in the craft from the Land of the Sleeping Crocodile.
All of these containers are used by the Timorese.
Some are specific for Lime Powder ( Hau au ) and some used to house the Betel Nut and Tobacco ( Hau Tiba ).
The motifs are in the family so to speak and like the textiles of Timor they are repeated with a slight variation in each piece created making every one unique.