AUD $68.00

Timorese Bamboo Tobacco Box.


This old tubular two piece carved bamboo box was made to carry tobacco, tucked into a Timorese man's woven waist sash. (They may also have been carried in the small flat weave shoulder bags, of which we have two examples.)

This broader or more squat design is for tobacco, as proven by it's contents, the thinner more elongated ones are for storing powdered lime for use in "betel" (areca nut and betel leaf) preparation.

The skill and refinement used to produce such a light, well fitting storage unit, locked until the two ends are twisted apart, must represent a specialized craftsman's work. So tight they often sqeak as the two surfaces rub in opening.

There is also a pun, or sense of humour in this design, where the ends are carved to resemble the roots at the base of the bamboo stem. ( I did find one other example, that may have been the real roots, but sadly it was "too alive" to come back with me safely.)

I was surprised to find a bundle of dark, dry tobacco one of these, as I usually handle "lime pots" which have a residue of fine white powdered lime. (We may also still have some bamboo and beaded Timorese Lime Pots available, which like the Turkoman Tobacco Snuff Bottles offer a great field for collectors.)

There is a little old insect damage (holes) at one end in the "roots" at the top front, but it now appears inactive.

Age: Mid/Late 20th Century.

Size: H 114 mm x W 54 mm

Weight: 52 grams