Alor Island has its own cultural heritage, which is quite separate from nearby Timor, and these beaded lime gourds are made nowhere else.
The round gourd is stitched with a pattern of nassa shells (ground down marine snail shells) and decorated with tassels of very old glass trade beads. The lid, which also serves as an open container for betel nut and pepper leaves is tightly woven and keeps the powdered lime securely enclosed. This lid-cum-bowl is secured to the gourd by a chain of large antique beads and its rim is decorated with yet another border of nasa shells. The glass beads are 19th century. This is the first Alor lime pot I have ever handled, and I was delighted to find an almost identical example in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam on a recent visit to the Netherlands – this piece is genuinely old and absolutely authentic. Height 11.5 cm/ 4 ½ inches, diameter 15 cm/ 6 inches.