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Ikat from East Sumba, Sumba, Indonesia
 

044 Sumba, East Sumba


Hinggi (men's blanket)



Origin: Sumba, East Sumba
Locale: Probably Rende or Kambera
Period: Early 20th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, extremely fine, double-ply
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 162 x 239 cm (5' 3" x 7' 10")
Weight: 975 g (34.4 oz), 252 g/m2 (0.83 oz/ft2)
Design: Classic eleven band field division. The outermost bands are decorated with birds of unknown type and sea worms. The next and widest, called hai, are decorated with sea shrimp (which around Sumba are up to a foot in length), a mark of high rank on account of their ability to outgrow their early stature and rejuvenate themselves; live trees; and what appear to be wading birds. Then comes a very unusual band with vertical stripes arrayed in blocks. The next carries a variant of the habak motif. This is followed by a band with small birds. The central band is decorated with the patola-inspired patola ratu motif, again a mark of high rank. Weft done with two yarns in parallel, some sections morinda, others indigo.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Uncommonly large hinggi, about 15% over the average size (3.8 m2 vs. 3.3 m2). This is due to the great width. Such generous proportions are indicative of the cloth's importance. Adams (1969:119) found shrimp and live trees to be the only stable (i.e. frequently occurring) combination pattern among the 300 early hinggi she studied. According to local sources, the combination of large shrimp, kurang, and habaku, flying lizards, suggests either Rende or Kambera as place of origin. Cloth feels brittle with age. Wildly irregular yarn gauge supports the early dating (see micro-photographs). Some light smudging largely limited to one of the rows of habak motifs. Otherwise in immaculate condition: fully intact, and with vibrant colours, probably close to their original strength.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sumba and East Sumba.
Compare:
Literature: Similar to circa 1900 hinggi of normal size in Khan-Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 400, that likewise has shrimp and a pohon hidup, live tree, in the widest ikated bands. Also similar to a early 20th c. hinggi in Fig. 402, 404 and 408, which all have shrimp and live trees in the widest ikated band.
  
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