- Other Titles
- Comb in form of bird with stand
Comb in form of bird
Comb/headress in form of bird
- Place where the work was made
East Nusa Tenggara
Lesser Sunda Islands
- Cultural origin
- 19th century-20th century
- Media category
- Materials used
- wood, beads, Dutch East Indies coins
- 6.5 x 14.0 x 8.0 cm
- Bequest of Christopher Worrall Wilson 2010
- Upper Asian gallery
- Accession number
Among the Atoni of Timor, the actions of warriors and headhunters were subject to a ritualised cult of warfare governed by ‘le’u musu’, a sacred force essential to success in battle and the spiritual welfare of the entire community. Strict taboos, divination ceremonies and talismanic blessings were all believed to render warriors invulnerable to their enemies. Infused with ‘le’u musu’ prior to battle, a warrior’s regalia of fine textiles, adornments and weapons expressed the wearer’s courage and glory.This pronged headdress would have been worn to the side or front of the head, the precious beads, metal discs and coins displayed prominently to dazzle enemies and demonstrate the wearer’s success, status and wealth. The combination of avian imagery emerging from a crescent-shaped form may refer, respectively, to the upper world and its winged messengers,and the moon and buffalo, both of which are associated with fertility.
Referenced in 1 publication
Niki van den Heuvel, Ancestral art of the Indonesian archipelago, Sydney, 2017, 58-59 (colour illus.).
Nomadic Rug Traders, pre 2004, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased in Bali, Indonesia.
Mariann Ford, 2004-Dec 2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased from Nomadic Rug Traders (art dealership). Donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.