Ceremonial spoon

Southeast Asian Collection

Accession Nr.: 54.108.1
Type: bone objects; religious or cult object
Date of production:
late 19th − early 20th century
Place of production:
Materials/Techniques: horn, carved, openwork, notched; pearl (bead)
Dimensions: length: 16. 6 cm
This meticulously carved, pierced and notched ceremonial spoon (nura dikun) with beaded decoration was probably used by East Timorese communities in funeral ceremonies. It is characterised by the highly stylised bird figure turned backwards (depicted here); three-dimensional or relief carvings of human figures 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.