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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

013 Timor, West Timor

Mau (blanket)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Amanuban, largest of the Atoni kingdoms.
Period: 1910-1940
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, coarse
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 107 x 160 cm (3' 6" x 5' 2")
Weight: 805 g (28.4 oz), 470 g/m2 (1.54 oz/ft2)
Design: Eight ikated bands with motifs that may represent flowering bushes, or 'birth trees' hung with baskets containing afterbirths, but may also represent skull trees, more literally 'head tree', hau nakaf, ‘head banyan’, nunuh nakaf, or ‘head oak’, usaip nakaf - eloquent markers of the murderous success of the local enmity cult. This type of motif is very rare on Timor ikat. The only other examples we have seen are one from the same region, one from East Timor.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Handsome 'full asli' Timor blanket. In Amanuban, close to the port town Kupang, such fully traditional ikat - of all hand spun cotton and natural dyes only - stopped being made early. Even though there is one small error of alignment, the overall appearance is that of very tight ikat, with sharp outlines of the motifs and practically no capillary seepage. Because it was briefly used as a curtain, one side is lightly faded. The good side is full of warm natural colour. In very good cosmetic condition: free of stains, tears and holes. The cloth has a soft patina, and an almost brittle old feel.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Compare: 258 282
Literature: Main ikated motif very similar to that on cloth probably from Fataluku region of East Timor depicted in Hamilton and Barrkman,Textiles of Timor, Fig. 2.74. Also similar to motif on mau in collection Georges Breguet depicted in the same work, Fig. 106, and to tree or bush in Fig. 51d, described as floral motif of probable Dutch inspiration. Information on Atoni skull trees from Andrew McWilliam, Trunk and Tip in West Timor: Precedence in a botanical idiom.
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