Sumba Objects - Wooden Bowl and Horn for Betel-Siri
Sumba abounds, for some reason, in containers. Perhaps it was because the Dutch largely left Sumba’s animistic culture intact and, thereby, allowed the numerous ritual artifacts and objects to remain.
Many containers revolved around the use of betel nut (siri pinang), served ritualistically somewhat as a Westener will offer a drink to someone who visits them at their home. As the betel nut ingredients are small and easily transportable, many containers can be found to support this “habit”: men’s wooden boxes to be worn off their waist, carved horn (shown above, on left) or carved gourds, wooden bowls (shown above, on right), with or without lids, ivory tusks.
Other containers, made in tightly woven rattan, were for textiles to protect them from bugs and insects.