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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

086 Timor, West Timor

Beti (blanket)detailmicroscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Insana
Period: Circa 1950
Yarn: Fine hand-spun cotton in all ikated bands and stripes; commercial cotton in the accent stripes.
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 111 x 206 cm (3' 7" x 6' 9")
Weight: 765 g (27.0 oz), 335 g/m2 (1.10 oz/ft2)
Design: The type Yeager and Jacobson categorize as 'multiple design stripe selimut'. The colour palette with indigo dominant and the tight, masterful ikating of complex patterns are typical for Insana. The main motif has a distinct directionality, with visual movement flowing outward from the centre towards the extremities. However, while the two panels are of equal width, the cloth is not symmetric: the widest ikated band on one side is 66 mm, on the other merely 50 mm; the second widest are 27 mm verses 23 mm. The difference is made up by slightly wider tertiary bands. The ranges of little arches along the red stripes are all opposed - except one where they face the same way. As the overall ikating is very precise, this is unlikely to be an error, and presumably aims to accentuate the asymmetry.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL. Fringes not shown.] A brilliant piece, lively and well executed, strongly present and intellectually challenging with its convoluted shapes. Clearly made by a weaver with a firm grip on her mind and with firm fingers. The ikat looks as if carved, and is intentionally hard: nothing in ikat is more difficult than curving lines, and this cloth is all curves, with lines meandering over and under each other. The asymmetry implies that the panels were not made in parallel, a practice which is more common in Ambenu with its Savunese influence than anywhere else on Timor.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Literature: Similar in overall appearance to Insana beti from Kio Pukan in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Western Timor, Plate. 158. The intricate motif recalls that of Insana wood-carving with its knotted motifs shown on Fig. 128s. It is also somewhat similar to the Insana beti of Plate 159 which is decorated with interwoven patterning of the same kind.
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