Rare 1980's Vintage Collectible Primitive Hand Crafted Vermasse Terracotta Pottery, Vessel from East Timor Island, Indonesia: Adorned with Decorative Geometric & 3D Raised Relief Ancestors Motifs colored with natural earthtone pigments 8.5" x 6.5", P15

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Rare vintage primitive collector Vermasse terracotta pottery from remote East Timor Island, Indonesia. Completely hand crafted (centuries old process) and decorated with geometric & protective ancestor motifs, in relief or 3D, all colored & enhanced with earthtone natural pigments, reminiscent of old American Indian pottery.

Measures: 8.5" x 6.5" (23.5" Diameter)


One of a kind and in great condition.

Custom made stands (to display pots, baskets, plates and artwork, all sizes) are available and seen on photo 2, but are NOT included here. These stands can also be used as bases for glass tables.)

We have collected these unusual extremely decorative pots for many years. This particular style is not made anymore today.

Such extremely decorative urns are often adorned with animalistic motifs, often created in relief, combined with geometrical designs, reminiscent of old American Indian Pottery, and additionally hand-painted with local enhancing natural color pigments.

This pot, discovered years ago, was made with a fine red clay mix combined with river sand & rice husk ash sieved through a fly screen and formed by hand, it bears some charcoal black marks on the outside from the burns of bonfires made from cow manure, burns which add to its charm and authenticity. Pots are only created during the dry season.

It came from the Vermasse region of Timor and was used by the natives of Manatuto to boil water on an outside fire in order to make it ready for human consumption (water borne diseases are a major problem in East Timor, and the traditional solution is still to boil the water in order to make it safe). Vegetables can also be cooked in there.

It is a unique collector item, a true work of primitive art and extremely decorative, especially in a grouping of 3. Old pots such as this one are much prettier than the ones produced today which we also show on some of the photos below. We also included some pictures of the people of Timor.

Discovered on the premises (long before the Timor war, that split the island into 2, took place), these older hand crafted pieces are impossible to find today as whatever still existed at the time the fighting started was broken during the violent conflicts.

The making of strong, sturdy and elegant terracotta pottery was a great part of Timorese culture for many centuries, but ceramic-making facilities as well as ceramics themselves were destroyed during the violence in 1999 (which put a stop to the creation of such wonderful pieces) and most of the existing ones were destroyed so good old pieces of terracotta are much harder to find today as a result.

The lifestyle, traditional animist beliefs and heritage of the numerous ethnic groups, who inhabit Timor, have been left relatively unchanged into the 20th century.

All our collector and rare items come with pages and pages of research about provenance, and with history of the tribes and photos as well, depending on item and whenever possible. When shipping internationally, we group ship multiple purchases to save you money, and find the best rates available. If you have any questions or want to see research conducted on this piece and photos of tribes, contact us.