Carved Wooden Hairpin from Timor Island, Indonesia (circa 1970s)
Carved wooden hairpin from Timor Island, Indonesia (circa 1970s). Some experts feel the hairpins used by women from Timor served another purpose. The hairpin was removed and perhaps used to separate the warp and weft threads during weaving. It was most easily stored in the weaver's hair as it was quickly accessible.
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 re-tell 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. This particular kneeling figure atop the hairpin projects serenity, perhaps representing a revered elder relative. In good vintage condition commensurate with age and use.
Dimensions (without stand):
H 24.5 cm / 9.6"
W 1.5 cm / 0.6"