Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

19th c. Portuguese East Timor, Timor Island

Timor Island is an island of Indonesia, easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between the Savu and Timor Seas; northwest of Australia.


The Virgin of Oceania

Sculptures of the Virgin Mary, and Christian-influenced works in general, are extremely rare in the traditional Oceanic cultures of the Pacific, particularly pre-and-early 20th century.  This example is exceptional in its purity of pre-Colonial stylization.  Its masterful and intuitive modeling suggests the 20th c. sculptural works of Brancusi. It is, in our opinion, a masterpiece of Oceanic art and a singular example of European-Oceanic cultural synthesis.

The Portuguese began trading with Timor about 1520 and retained a colony on the eastern half of the island until 1976 when it was formally annexed by Indonesia. Christianity made inroads from the first colonization but most inhabitants retained their tribal religion of worshipping ancestors and other spirits.


Carved Wood

14 inches high (36.5 cm)



Private Collection, East Timor, to 1997

Thomas Murray Ethnographic Art, 1997-98

Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, 1998

Private Collection



Fred R. Kline Gallery. "The Virgin of Oceania: Timor Island, 19th c.".

January-December 1999-2000



"The Virgin of Oceania: Timor Island, 19th c.": from 2000


Private Collection

By appointment



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