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Ikat from Roti, Roti Group, Indonesia

107 Roti Group, Roti

Lafa ina (horse blanket)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Roti Group, Roti
Period: 1930-1950, perhaps earlier
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 77.5 x 167 cm (2' 6" x 5' 5")
Weight: 545 g (19.2 oz), 421 g/m2 (1.38 oz/ft2)
Design: Four identical sections consisting of wider and narrower ikated bands. The chief motif, consisting of four lozenges arranged in diamond pattern around a smaller fifth diamond, probably represents a flower, and was mostly likely patola-inspired.
Comment: Lafa ina, horse blanket, which according to some sources is also suitable for use as a shroud. The design of lafi ina calls for a strong red component. Another aspect to distinguish it from a men's shawl is the absence of fringes. All natural dyes. Clearly used fairly extensively. Somewhat faded (probably due to regular washing, which is hardly ever done to cloths meant for human use), but with a beautiful tonality and fine patina. Rather losely woven, almost crêpe-like, as reflected in the weight. A bit of wear on one of the extremities. Microscopy shows some of the most organic-looking weaving that we have seen, similar to 19th or very early 20th c. ikat from Kisar, Timor, Ndao. This suggests that aging may be too conservative. Ex collection Dr. Krista Knirck-Bumke.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Roti Group and Roti.
Literature: Similar to early 20th c. lafa ina in National Gallery of Australia, NGA 84.1103, but with richer ikat decoration. Same division of the field into four sections separated by plain bars offset with white striping. Similar triple repeat per section of the motif in the main ikated bands. In this example the main ikated band is repeated twice per panel, in the NGA example the outermost ikated band carries a somewhat simpler star-like motif. In the NGA example the main ikated motif is a lozenge, here we see a more convoluted constellation of lozenges that in its countours itself is lozenge shaped.
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