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M515 - C1930 - Old man tree spirit

Untitled document

I was very fortunate in 2008 to be offered a small yet significant number of genuinely old Timorese Masks. 

This amazing tree spirit mask was hand-carved near the village of SoE in the central highlands of West Timor. It is deeply convex and is able stand on it own through the natural curved shape of the wood. This incredible mask has seen and heard many things in it time in the huts of the village in the central Highlands of West Timor. Estimated C1930 (probably older).

The timber is so aged that I am unable to identify it. The timber is very dense and heavy.

37cm tall x 28cm wide x 18cm deep.

14.5" tall x 11" wide x 7" deep.


Postage is additional. See Zz Freight I on the left-hand side of the page at the bottom of categories list to find out postage costs to you. You are welcome to combine purchases to maximise your shipping. Insurance and registered mail are additional.


The History of the Timorese MASK

Still made today using little more than a pen knife and a machete these masks serve to remind us how real the links to the past are within tribal existence. 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 their carver's.

Handcarved using the simplest of tools from wood, bone, coral and coconut Timorese masks fall into 3 main categories. Those made with paddle handles that are used to 'hide' ones face when raiding a neighbour in times of hunger. Those made to be placed inside the hut above the front entrance that repels anyone with evil intent and allowing people of good intent to pass through the doorway and also used by Atoni men to 'put on a face' when dancing.

As a fellow field collector says - "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.

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