Carved Wooden Calendar with Lime Highlights
Bali or Lombok, Indonesia
height: 22.5cm, width: 8.5cm
Calendars were used on Bali and Lombok to determine the correct time for festivals, rituals associated with rice planting, and horoscopes. Calendars were either painted on cotton cloth, or carved from wooden boards as is the case with this example.
Lombok carved wooden calendars tended to be smaller and less elaborate than their Balinese counterparts, although some Balinese examples also are small.
The example here is carved with a stylised bird at the top; then a leafy border; followed by 35 squares (seven days by five weeks for the Balinese/Lombok month of 35 days) that are engraved with a series of crosses, lines, circles and other markings; and then finally another leafy border. A similar example is illustrated in Gardan (1987, p. 144) and attributed to Tabanan, West Bali, circa 1935.
The engraving is highlighted with lime powder which has been rubbed into the depressions. This powder, made from crushed, burned seashells and limestone is the same as that used in the betel quid that was chewed for mild narcotic effect.
The calendar is in fine condition and is without cracks, repairs or chips.
Breguet, G., & J. Couteau, Un Autre Temps: Les Calendriers Tika de Bali, Somogy Editions D’Art, 2002.
Gardan, D., ‘Balinese wooden calendars’,
Arts of Asia, March-April 1987.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 2648
to see another example, from Bali.