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Ikat from Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia

067 Sulawesi, Toraja

Seko mandi (shroud)  magnifier

Origin: Sulawesi, Toraja
Locale: Galumpang district.
Period: 1970s
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, coarse
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 135 x 158 cm (4' 5" x 5' 2")
Design: Seko mandi, shroud. Shimmery, interlocking patterns called lelesepun represent stylised human figures, which symbolize the ancestors which the owner will join in the afterlife. Note that in literature seko mandi with lelesepun patterning are sometimes called referred to as lelesepun.
Comment: Khan Majlis: 'Tiny offsets in the positioning of the rows of diamonds, diagonal connecting lines and alternation between light and dark fill the sequence of simple ornaments with tension and life.' Ethnographer Carl Schuster (cited by Dallas Museum of Art) interpreted the human figures as ancestors, gathered together on the burial shroud to accompany the deceased into the next world. One use of these sacred blankets, handed down to successive generations, was to catch honoured family membersí last breath, irrevocably linking them to the ancestors, and over time giving them a gravitas that is felt not just by the Toraja, and a palpable presence.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sulawesi and Toraja.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014
Compare: 066 068 201 214
Literature: Similar to seko mandi depicted in Gillow, Traditional Indonesian Textiles, Fig. 82. Similar to seko mandi from Galumpang in British Museum, Nr. 1987,01.7. Also similar to old seko mandi in Dallas Museum of Art, Object Nr. 1983.126, and one in Wassing-Visser, Weefsels en Adatkostuums uit Indonesië, Fig. 111, , though both have additional side panels that are typical of an older cloth - older than ours and the one in the British Museum.
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