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Ikat from Peninsula, Flores Group, Indonesia

097 Flores Group, Peninsula

Kewatek (sarong)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Flores Group, Peninsula
Locale: Bama (or Ili Mandiri?) in Bird's Head Peninsula. Lamaholot people.
Period: 1960
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 64 x 165 cm (2' 1" x 5' 4")
Weight: 885 g (31.2 oz), 419 g/m2 (1.37 oz/ft2)
Design: Kewatek méan made of two panels. Two bands, called kenirek belen, with patola inspired motifs clearly belonging to the Lamaholot vernacular, in a field filled with numerous narrower bands and stripes with fine ikated motifs, executed in morinda red, in three shades, the darkest created by belapit: overdyeing with indigo.
Comment: Traditional kewatek méan: sarong executed in three shades of morinda, as required for use as bridewealth. A rare piece, with fine weaving and great colour saturation, in excellent condition. The uncommonly rich colour saturation points to a very long dyeing process with either prolonged or repeated steeping in the dye. Production of this cloth may be well have taken five years or more. A mid 20th C piece in as new condition.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Flores Group and Peninsula.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014
Compare: 007 128 211
Literature: Nearly identical to kewatek identified as Bama field collected by Ernst Vatter in 1929, depicted in Barnes, Ostindonesien im 20. Jahrhundert, Abb. 137. Also near-identical to kewatek in Maxwell's contribution to Gittinger c.s., Indonesian Textiles, Fig. 7 lower left, identified as Ili Mandiri. Very similar to a kewatek méan worn over her shoulder for display by an Ili Mandiri woman from Wailolong on photograph in Hamilton, Gift of the Cotton Maiden, Fig. 8-5. As of 2014 no other published examples known. Similar to PC 007 except that this piece has been finished into a wearable sarong, presumably after its use in a bridal exchange by a woman in the bridegroom's family.
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