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Ikat from Tanimbar, Moluccas, Indonesia

080 Moluccas, Tanimbar

Tais (sarong)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Moluccas, Tanimbar
Locale: Specific island in the archipelago as yet unidentified, but probably Fordata.
Period: 1920-1940
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 64 x 105 cm (2' 1" x 3' 5")
Weight: 450 g (15.9 oz), 335 g/m2 (1.10 oz/ft2)
Design: Bakan inelak in language of Fordata, tais sikatim in Yamdena, tais bakan in Selaru. Narrow bands with the male and female 'flag' and 'half moon' designs that are typical for the island, executed in white on two shades of indigo, alternated with narrow bands and stripes in aubergine and mauve. The snake motifs in the border stand for courage, and offer protection. The larger motifs may be half moons, but also scorpions. The other motif, with what looks like two opposing arrows, are probably of version of the fish motif.
Comment: One of the most common Tanimarese sarong types; of a quality that stopped being common a long time ago. Tight, exact ikat. Such cloths in all their simplicity radiate distinction.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Moluccas and Tanimbar.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014, Carpet Collector 4/2014
Compare: 079 165 173
Literature: Similar to sarongs from before 1926 in Tropenmuseum, Nr. 328-22 and 329-2. Similar pattern on cloth in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 318, the caption of which provided the information on the motif. Scorpion motif in Van Vuuren, Ikat from Tanimbar, Fig. 92, p. 131. Fish motif, Fig. 3, p. 134. The piece is also very similar to sarong worn by Tanimbarese woman on photo (below) from 1910 in Collection Tropenmuseum, TMnr 60015589.

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