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Ikat from Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia

068 Sulawesi, Toraja

Pori lonjong (funerary banner)  magnifier

Origin: Sulawesi, Toraja
Locale: Sa'dan.
Period: 1970s
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, coarse
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 3
Size: 105 x 435 cm (3' 5" x 14' 3")
Weight: 1450 g (51.1 oz), 317 g/m2 (1.04 oz/ft2)
Design: Most of the field is covered in the emblematic hooked sekong pattern which represents links with the ancestors. Side panels in plain shades of red and blue. One end section is decorated with stylised human figures - quite rare on Sulawesi textiles of this nature. Large human figures shelter smaller human figures between their legs. The small humans are standing in what looks like a capsule about to be shot up into the bodies of the larger humans, presumably representing the community of the ancestors. They can equally well be seen as having exited from the larger figures - and this bidirectionality may well be intentional. Tumpal borders.
Comment: Very long cloth, pori lonjong, intended as a banner to decorate a deceased's house, temple or burial site, or to be strung up to a high point and serve as a pathway for the dead to heaven (puya). Excellent weaving. Even though the patterns runs somewhat askew, the weaving is very tight. This allows a stunning level of detailing for a cloth made of such heavy thread. This appears to have been achieved not plodding, but with facility; playfully finding surprising ideas within the confines of the four tone format, revealing the hand of a master weaver. [Photo shows about 60%.] The piece looks almost as new, still, given the quality of the weaving, it must have been made before the upheaval of the fifties and sixties, as most higher level skills were lost during that period.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sulawesi and Toraja.
Compare: 100 067 201
Literature: No truly similar puri lonjong known from literature.
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