Tetum or Belu
Man’s Ceremonial Bracelet, buti-liman or riti
2 3/4 inches high by 3 1/8 inches wide by 1 wide. 3/4 inch at opening. 85 grams.
Very good. Silver has been worn smooth in several places.
Jewelry is more to the people of Timor then just adornment. Aside from beatifying 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 bracelets such as this one actually acquires supernatural powers when used in dance ceremonies called adat.
Large central silver bell adored with 4 silver balls at the opening. Inside is a silver ball clangor that gives the bell a nice rich tone. The central bell is further embellished with small spirals of silver wire lined up next to each around the circumference of bell. Where the bell attaches to the bracelet is also adorned with an additional bar of silver laid across the top of the bracelet that has 2 rows of very small rolled silver balls caped by 2 larger balls of silver on each end.
Silver itself is not found in Timor so their 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 Belu people. The bracelets worn during the adat ceremonies that are worn by men and women are often large, heavy and can easily be seen by the viewer.