A bronze ''Moko'' dowry drum from Alor
Moko drums are actually not intended to make music. They are used as dowry, status symbol, money, medium of exchange with headhunters and as a method of payment for slaves. They are classified into 4 types. This is type III, found on Flores and Alor. The motifs on these drums have their origin from the ancient temples on Java and show figurines as known from the Wajang , monster heads, flowers and spirals. The early models probably came from Vietnam (Dong Son). In the 19th century Mokos were made in China and since 1860 also on Java and brought to the Alor archipelago. While they have been found in several different locations in Indonesia, they are most famously associated with the island of Alor.
The drums were valued by weight, height and ornamentation. The large examples were considered to be of higher value. The Type III is made between 1914 and WWII and shows Dutch and Brittish influences with lion masks, grapes and grapeleaves.
In 1914 the Dutch colonial rulers forbid the Moko as currency and started to confiscate them, many of them were melted down. Allthough they were still accepted to be used as dowry.
A Type III Moko casted in bronze with four handles. Build up out of two parts which are rivited together. The drum is decorated with masks in ancient greek style with grapeleaves and small lion heads. The patina of the drum is somewhat shiny compared to others, but most of the type III drums have a different patina then the first examples. This could be because of the mixture, different proportions of the alloys and aswell that this example was not excavacated.
Condition: Excellent, minor ware. Just a small piece off the lower rim.
Height: 56.3 cm
Diameter: 33.5 cm (at the widest point)
Weight: 10,1 kilogram
Copyright by Peter Andeweg – 2020
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