An image of Ceremonial spoon (sono or soke)

Unknown Artist

Ceremonial spoon (sono or soke)

Not on display
Further information

Across Indonesia the ivory of animals, including elephants, sea mammals, buffalo, deer and cattle, was sourced locally and imported as part of the extensive trade networks operating throughout the archipelago and the wider South and Southeast Asian region. Prized for their monetary value and decorative qualities, and believed by many societies to possess powerful animistic properties, the horns, teeth and bone from such creatures were popular materials for ceremonial objects and items denoting status. On Timor domesticated buffalo and cattle served as an important economic asset but were also necessary for ritual sacrifices associated with purification, renewal and fertility. The horns of large creatures were often used to
carve intricate spoons which were most likely used for large ceremonial feasts and offerings to ancestors.

Place of origin
West Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia
19th century-20th century
buffalo horn
6.5 x 10.0 x 5.0 cm
Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
Accession number
Christopher Wilson, pre Nov 1986-1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, probably purchased in West Timor, Indonesia mid 1980s. Appears in 'Southeast Asian tribal art', an unpublished text by Christopher Wilson, College of Fine Arts, Sydney, November 1986.
Mariann Ford, 1996-Dec 2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, inherited from the estate of Christopher Wilson. Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.