Ceremonial spoon

Southeast Asian Collection

Accession Nr.: 54.107.1
Type: bone objects; religious or cult object
Date of production:
late19th − early 20th century
Place of production:
Materials/Techniques: horn, openwork, notched
Dimensions: length: 11. 4 cm
This meticulously carved ceremonial spoon (nura dikun), with its openwork and notched decoration, was probably used by East Timorese communities in funeral ceremonies. Its characteristic motifs include the stylised figure of a bird turning backwards, three-dimensional or relief carvings of human figures (as in the picture) and geometric patterns. Although originally ceremonial objects, by the 19th century these spectacular, organic objects had found their way into European museums and are still being made into high-quality replicas today.