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Ceremonial spoon (sono or soke)

19th century-20th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    West Timor East Nusa Tenggara Lesser Sunda Islands Indonesia
    19th century-20th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    buffalo horn
    6.5 x 10.0 x 5.0 cm
    Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Across Indonesia the ivory of animals, including elephants, sea mammals, buffalo, deer and cattle, was sourced locally and imported as part of the extensive trade networks operating throughout the archipelago and the wider South and Southeast Asian region. Prized for their monetary value and decorative qualities, and believed by many societies to possess powerful animistic properties, the horns, teeth and bone from such creatures were popular materials for ceremonial objects and items denoting status. On Timor domesticated buffalo and cattle served as an important economic asset but were also necessary for ritual sacrifices associated with purification, renewal and fertility. The horns of large creatures were often used to
    carve intricate spoons which were most likely used for large ceremonial feasts and offerings to ancestors.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

  • Provenance

    Christopher Wilson, pre Nov 1986-1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, probably purchased in West Timor, Indonesia mid 1980s. Appears in 'Southeast Asian tribal art', an unpublished text by Christopher Wilson, College of Fine Arts, Sydney, November 1986.

    Mariann Ford, 1996-Dec 2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, inherited from the estate of Christopher Wilson. Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.