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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:08 am
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
Hi Everyone,
I am new here but glad to find you. I have recently added to my collection and beaded head dress from Indonesia, it was worn over the forehead with pendant sections that fell over the temples. I was told it was from Alor but to me it aopears Timorese. can anyone offer any further information
Many Thanks
Craig


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 Post subject: Timor Beads
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Craig, Welcome to the forum. I think you are right and that this beaded piece is from Timor. Beads were popular on Timor and used to decorate many types of objects. I don't really remember seeing beads used on objects when I was roaming around Alor. The other object (gunpowder or lime container?) in your photo is often found on Timor attached to the strings of betel and tobacco bags and if it came with the beads this would also indicate Timor rather than Alor. It looks like the tip of an ivory tusk. Hope this helps, MAC


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 Post subject: Beaded Head Band
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 9:33 pm
Posts: 74
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Hi Craig,
I believe your beaded head band is from Alor Island. However, it is possible it came from Timor Island, as they do use similar colored beads on betel bags.

I don't believe the tooth "amulet" is original to the beaded piece. I have never come across beaded head bands in the past with these pieces attached. Most likely it was done by a previous owner either inadvertedly or to enhance the sale value.

I have had several of these tooth pieces over the last 35 years of collecting Indonesia art and every one in its original condition was attached to a long, thickly woven cloth bandoleer-like strap. The complete set was worn by Timorese men over the shoulder or across the chest. The straps were often decorated with glass seed beads, that were sewn directly onto the cloth.

The tooth is likely to be marine ivory. I have heard several uses for the tooth/wood container: to hold gunpowder or lime for betel nut chewing or as well as magic protective substances. I have never seen evidence of lime powder or gunpowder inside these pieces, and their small interior cavity would not seem logical for either, especially gunpowder. It is my opinion they held magic substances meant to protect the wearer on war or hunting expeditions.

Somewhere in my photo archives I have images of Alorese women wearing similar beaded head bands and I likely still have some old inventory photos showing the complete original bandoleer pieces with attached tooth amulets. If I can find them, I will post them later.

I hope this helps,
Mark
Mark A. Johnson Tribal Art
www.markajohnson.com

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Mark Johnson

http://www.markajohnson.com
Mark A. Johnson Tribal Art


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:08 am
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
Hi Mark,
Thanks for your comprehensive reply ( and books ) which arrived safe and sound and I enjoyed them immensely. I should have clarified that the horn in the image is a separate piece that this dealer was attempting to sell me on the same day I purchased the head band and it ended up being in the picture. I didn’t buy it because it wasn’t complete and I have a few of these horn containers attached to their beaded straps in my collection. The headband however I also believe is from Alor and I too have seen images somewhere in one of my books of men or women sporting these on Alor...which was the reason I purchased it, but its stylistic affinities to Timorese bead work and lack of published images of items from Alor left a little nagging question, so I am very glad to hear your educated opinion.
I am also happy to hear your thoughts on the horn containers as I have found it rather confounding that I have not ever seen traces of either gun powder or lime unyet all of the published data revolves around these 2 uses. It would be more logical to make the conclusion you have and I am going to quiz a few Timorese dealers I know next time I am in Indonesia and see if any of them can elaborate.
Once again thanks for your knowledgeable reply. Many Thanks , Craig


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 Post subject: Alor Headband
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 9:33 pm
Posts: 74
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Hi Craig,
Sorry, I didn't make the connection immediately. Glad to hear you received the books.

I did misunderstand the connection of the head band to the tooth amulet. You meant the two little beaded sections, of course...

I traveled to Alor in the 80s and took some photos of an older woman wearing something very similar to what you have. Now I have just have to find them!

Best Regards,
Mark

_________________
Mark Johnson

http://www.markajohnson.com
Mark A. Johnson Tribal Art


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