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Ikat from Adonara, Solor Archipelago, Indonesia

130 Solor Archipelago, Adonara

Kewatek (sarong)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Solor Archipelago, Adonara
Locale: Village unknown. Lamaholot people.
Period: Late 19th to early 20th C.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium, and silk
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 70 x 125 cm (2' 3" x 4' 1")
Weight: 520 g (18.3 oz), 297 g/m2 (0.97 oz/ft2)
Design: Ceremonial or festive sarong for woman of high status. Wide and narrow bands of morinda red and indigo, with snaking geometrical design, reminiscences of patola motifs such as tumpal and jilamprang. Garnished with very narrow stripes (most only two threads wide) in brighter trade yarn, probably silk, which was available in eastern Nusa Tenggara from the 19th c. up until World War II.
Comment: One of the most elaborately decorated old Adonara textiles known, almost certainly woven for royalty. Extremely rare, only three other pieces of comparable age and quality known to be extant, including our PC 284. All natural dies, except the silk garnishing. Overall tonality brown and golden. Very attractive sarong showing its age and its use as a pusaka, but in excellent condition.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Solor Archipelago and Adonara.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15. Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014
Compare: 284
Literature: Similar to kewatek in Art Institute of Chicago, Bakwin Collection, No. 2002.1001, though more ornate. Very similar to dowry kewatek in Barnes, Ostindonesien im 20. Jahrhundert, Auf den Spuren der Sammlung Vatter, Abb. 189; and to another one in Barnes & Kahlenberg, Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles, Plate 97. As Barnes writes, Ernst Vatter in 1929 thought that the few pieces he saw must have been woven on another island, but Barnes is firm that such pieces were indeed woven on Adonara island, in coastal villages such as Tanah Boleng. As she indicates 'Heute sind diese Sarong sehr selten.' ('Nowadays such sarongs are very rare.')
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