Carved Wooden Slingshot Figure from Timor Island, Indonesia (circa 1970s)
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Carved wooden slingshot figure from Timor Island, Indonesia (circa 1970s) on contemporary stand. The standing figure forms the handle of this tribal weapon used to fire projectiles, perhaps at small game or for sport. Human figures were often carved into statues, tools and architectural details to represent ancestors in keeping with their worship practices. The particular piece has a characterful wood patina throughout and is in fair vintage condition commensurate with age and use.
As background, amongst the Aboriginal inhabitants of Timor and Tanimbar Islands, traditional practices of Animism and Ancestor worship predominate. Each village has a sacred house with a custodian priest and surrounding taboo area. Here, the practice of Animism, or nature-worship, is incorporated with the carving of ancestral statues and masks, which have a ritualistic function. Ancestral figure carvings are produced to honour the departed, and statues are carved and brought out to retell stories as a means to remember past family members. Similarly guardian spirits, ancestor figures or totemic spirits are all captured in wood, to be passed down for posterity and used in order to build the spiritual power of the village. The carvers work with local resources such as teak wood, red cedar wood, eucalyptus.
Dimensions (without stand):
H 20.5 cm / 8.1"
W 10.2 cm / 4.0"
D 2.5 cm / 1.0"