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Carved Tattoo Ink Pot from Timor Island, Indonesia (circa 1940s-50s)


SKU 0894

Carved buffalo horn tattoo ink pot from Timor Island, Indonesia (circa 1940s - 50s) on a modern stand. The carving on this piece is very skilfully detailed at a level well surpassing most pieces from the region. A monkey grasps the ink pot as if it were climbing a tree trunk. On the forepart of the pot an ancestral or ritual mask is added providing further interest and intrigue to the piece. As background, historic tattooing methods in Timor Island involved particular kinds of wood which were burned in a covered fire. The soot was then collected and mixed with water after having been collected by covering the smoke from the fire. In other areas inks were made from boiled leaves or fruits. Thorns are then used to etch the tincture into the skin. In some locations the hard casing of a certain bean was used as a needle. In pockets of the south east the dyes of woven tais (Tais cloth is a form of traditional weaving created by the women of East Timor) were burned into the arm using thick, heated metal skewers. The process was slow, haphazard and painful (ref: This fascinating and beautiful piece was used to hold the ink for the tattoo artist. Because of its rarity, its source material and inspired carving it is highly sought after. It would make a beautiful decorative statement in your home or workplace and sure to be a conversation starter as well. In fair vintage condition commensurate with age and use. It has visible blemishes throughout including some cracks and nicks and an apparent (we believe) skilful repair to the rear of the figure's head. Please view the listing's accompanying photos for detail. Stand included with purchase.

Dimensions (without stand):

H 11 cm / 4.3"

D 9 cm / 3.5"

W 5 cm / 2.0"