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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

004 Timor, West Timor

Turban cloth  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Probably made by Atoni people (Atoin meto).
Period: 1940-50
Yarn: Cotton, commercial, fine, quadruple-ply
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 1
Size: 51 x 213 cm (1' 8" x 6' 11")
Weight: 295 g (10.4 oz), 272 g/m2 (0.89 oz/ft2)
Design: Netting-like pattern of interlocking double-pointed diamonds with wing-like motifs. Pattern of unknown significance, most likely stylised crocodiles or lizards.
Comment: Rare motif, finely woven. Material is pleasantly soft, probably due to being well worn. Provenance as yet undetermined, but Sumbanese seller thought it was from Soe, in central West Timor. Probably a turban cloth. According to Timor expert Julie Emery, it may be a creation by Timorese master weaver Sebastian Uskuno from Unab. Pattern is similar to that found on some Semau (off-Timor) ikats, but these are always morinda red. The tiny tumpal (triangle) endings are often seen on Timor cloths. Twisted fringes. If you can help with definitive identification please inform us.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Literature: Similar to turban cloth of roughly equal size identified as Atoni from Insana in Khan-Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 256, with stylised crocodiles in white on dark blue, also covering entire cloth. Also similar to first half 20th C. cloth from East Timor (no further indication of provenance given) of equal proportions, but a little shorter and narrower, in Fig. 303. The treatment of the central band separating the two sections is nearly identical. Not identical but similar is the overall build-up of the pattern of diamond-like shapes.
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