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Ikat from Kisar, Moluccas, Indonesia

103 Moluccas, Kisar

Homnon (sarong)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Moluccas, Kisar
Locale: Probably Oirata people.
Period: Late 19th to early 20th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 69 x 150 cm (2' 3" x 4' 11")
Weight: 660 g (23.3 oz), 319 g/m2 (1.05 oz/ft2)
Design: Rimanu motif, reserved for aristocracy: human figures standing with raised hands; a small human figure, equally with raised hands, is standing in a boat with projecting ends called sorsorlol carved in the shapes of animals. Such boat imagery forms part of the Kisarese myth of origin, and presumably stands for flight from another land to arrive in the safety of the island. As finials serve the base-mounted tumpal found throughout the southern Moluccas. Numerous narrow horizontal and stripes with small squares, circles and other small motifs. The small right scalene triangles are shared with Tanimbar, where they are called 'flags'.
Comment: Old piece in excellent condition, with what Fraser-Lu calls 'delightfully naive pictorial motifs in the form of human figures with huge outspread hands'. Fairly loose weave, soft natural tones. Note the similarity between the boat motif and that of some Sumatran palepai, 'shipcloths'.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Moluccas and Kisar.
Exhibited: Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Compare: 101 102 138 091 282
Literature: Near-identical to 19th C. homnon in Granucci, Art of the Lesser Sundas, Fig. 107. Near-identical to one in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig 311 but older. Similar cloth in Tropenmuseum, Tillman collection. Very similar to PC 101, 102 and 134. See also Fraser-Lu, Handwoven Textiles of South-East Asia, Fig. 260. Sorsorlol described in De Jonge and Van Dijk, Forgotten Islands of Indonesia, p. 33. Ship motif similar to that on Lampung shipcloths, palepai such as the one in Thomas Murray collection shown below.

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