Flores

Fine Crafts Archive Flores Kalimantan Lembata Rote Savu Sumba Timor

Oko Mama


C-FL-BA-006-Oko Mama-Large

A matriarch with a bag of powdered lime, Bajawa, Flores.

A matriarch with a bag of powdered lime, Bajawa, Flores.

This oko mama basket was made in Bajawa, a small market town nestled among the volcanoes of central Flores. It was woven from the fragrant young leaves of the lontar palm (Borassus flabellifer). Bajawans fill their oko mama with the ingredients of a quid known in the West as betel nut: nuts from the pinang palm (Areca catechu),leaves and peppery flower spikes from the male sireh plant (Piper betle), and powdered lime.
The mixture produces a mild intoxication–and a mass of red saliva. Chewing betel quid also suppresses the appetite, a useful side-effect in areas where food and water are not plentiful. The Ngada people of Bajawa live in a matrilineal society–to this day, all Bajawans claim descent from one of seven women. Upon marriage, a man moves into his wife`s home and becomes a part of her family. All property descends through the female line, and nothing of value can be bought or sold without the consent of a household`s women.

 

  • Betel Nut Basket
  • 2007
  • Bajawa village, Flores
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • Height 7 cm. (3 in)
  • Code # C.FL.BA.006

 

Seneng


C-FL-MR-005-Seneng-Large


PICT0413Seneng hold the ingredients of the betel nut quid, which has specific ceremonial uses related to hospitality. Travelers always carry betel nut to offer to their hosts, assuring them of a kind reception wherever they go. This type of basket would belong specifically to a female traveler. Feliksia Kiren wove a rare and difficult floral geometric pattern into this seneng basket. Pinang or betel nuts, from the Areca catechu palm tree, are chewed from Africa to Oceania; it is said that the betel nut opens the way to honest and friendly conversation. Users chew a quid of pinang nut, leaves and peppery flower spikes from the malesireh plant (Piper betle), and powdered lime to produce a mild intoxication-and a mass of red saliva. Chewing betel also suppresses the appetite, a useful side-effect in areas where food and water are not plentiful.

 

  • Betel Nut Basket
  • 2007
  • Woven by Feliksia Kiren
  • Maumere town, Flores
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • Height 8 cm. (3 in)
  • Code # C.FL.MR.005