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Ikat from East Timor, Timor, Indonesia

169 Timor, East Timor

Beti (blanket)detail  magnifier

Origin: Timor, East Timor
Locale: Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Village in the lower elevations. Atoni people.
Period: 1925-1950
Yarn: Cotton, hand spun, coarse
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 107 x 171 cm (3' 6" x 5' 7")
Design: Beti naik (man's blanket in Dawan). Bands of indigo and white ikat alternated with bands of stripes in indigo and morinda, and a few very narrow accent stripes in somewhat paled warm yellow. The main motif, called kaif, represents ancestral relationships. However, it is quite possible that it was originally inspired by Indian tradecloth imported by the VOC.

Below is a detail of 17th-18th C. chintz sarasa with VOC trade stamp.

Comment: Old Ambenu beti naik in excellent condition. Textiles from Ambenu enclave are rare due to the isolation of the area. Like many older Timor pieces it tapers distinctly, one end measuring 105 cm and the other 109 cm. In Ambenu, symmetry used to be avoided, even in the size of panels, as it was considered inauspicious. To quote local Portal Sao Francisco: ' Embora os panos compostos de dois painéis pareçam simétricos, um painel é de facto mais estreito do que o outro.' Here even the patterns differ. The cloth shows its age through its patina and moderate overall fading, but is in excellent condition. All natural dyes, notably including the yellow nuance stripes.
Background: For additional information see chapter on Timor and/or East Timor.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014
Compare: 118 002 189
Literature: Nearly identical to beti naik from Piotafo village in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Western Timor, Fig. 194. Very to rather similar to Fig. 192, 193. See also Chapter Also very similar to the other Ambenu in our collection, PC 118, 189 and 002, except that the latter is somewhat younger and both are symmetrical. From old Dutch collection.
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