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Ikat from Roti, Roti Group, Indonesia

012 Roti Group, Roti

Lafa (shawl)  magnifier

Origin: Roti Group, Roti
Locale: Nemberala (Nembrala) in western Roti.
Period: 1950-1960
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 76 x 159 cm (2' 5" x 5' 2")
Design: Patola-like motif in the midfield, but borders without the more common elongated triangles. Executed in two shades of morinda red, two shades of indigo, yellow and green - created by brief overdying of yellow with indigo. Very unusual is that the cloth is asymmetric to the core: not only is the design asymmetric, one panel is also far wider than the other, with the ikated area 39 cm versus 30 cm wide. The design of both panels is essentially the same, but on the right hand side everything has slimmed down, as if every fourth warp thread was thrown out. This effect we have never observed before. But even within one panel there is asymmetry: the eight-pointed stars are of unequal width. Fringe decorated with red and green yarn. Both the drawing style and the presence of yellow and tiny patches of green point to creation in Nemberala, western Roti.
Comment: The asymmetric design is enigmatic. Perhaps it was made for a husband from neighbouring Ndao or nearby Savu, where asymmetry is de rigueur for male cloths. The piece is in unused state, its fringes not yet corded.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Roti Group and Roti.
Compare: 011 042 125 141
Literature: No Roti cloth with similarly asymmetric pattern known from literature - at least not to us. Please let us know if you have seen a similar piece. Stylistically very similar to lafa from Nemberala (Nebrala) in Granucci, Art of the Lesser Sundas, Fig. 112, which also has yellow touches.
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