Tetum or Belu
Women’s Ceremonial Earrings, katava
2 in X 3.5 in. X .0625 in each. 35 grams combined.
Jewelry is more to the people of Timor then just adornment. Aside from beautifying the wearer it also represents many things to the Timorese people such as social rank, marriage alliance, political markers, family heirlooms and ritual objects for dance. It is believed that earrings such as this one actually take on supernatural powers when used in dance ceremonies called adat.
Silver itself is not found in Timor so there main source of silver was Dutch and Portuguese coins that would be melted down and made into jewelry. Silver is the most popular choice of metal for Tetum and Belu people.
This pair of traditional earrings with classic Tetum motifs and design. The silversmiths build out the designs by carefully adding series of small spirals and tiny balls from the horseshoe shape center. Leather or cording loops through the ear and catches the upper hooks to secure in place. Could be modified to wear with contemporary ear wires. See “Ethnic Jewelry from Indonesia, Continuity and Evolution” by Bruce Carpenter, page 279.