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Ikat from East Sumba, Sumba, Indonesia

171 Sumba, East Sumba

Hinggi (men's blanket)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Sumba, East Sumba
Locale: Praliu, but in Kanatang style, made by princess from Kanatang.
Period: 1910-1925
Yarn: Cotton, commercial, fine, double-ply
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 132 x 275 cm (4' 3" x 9' 0")
Weight: 1240 g (43.7 oz), 342 g/m2 (1.12 oz/ft2)
Design: Design from Kanatang with white midfield reserved for royalty. Upright male figures with penis inserts, skull trees with three skulls each on the central pillar, surrounded by figures from the marapu ancestor cult. A cockfight, depicted in a panel in the skull tree enlivens the scene. Two bands in a strong red with finely drawn horses, snakes and small skull trees. No foreign influence of any kind. All natural dyes. Twisted fringes.
Comment: Important royal cloth, called hinggi paratu or also hinggi maramba, from 1960, very large and heavy, made by princess Tamu Rambu Mirinai Danga from Kanatang, wife of the raja of Praliu in the Kambera region. She was married to the raja, who was ill and had no heirs, to prevent dispersion of the heritage. The raja died a few days after she joined him in his kampung in Praliu, on the outskirts of Waingapu. Information on provenance provided by Georges Breguet.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sumba and East Sumba.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014
Compare: 027 015 160
Literature: This type is hardly found in literature. A similar piece in Metropolitan Museum, Nr. 30.97.10, is depicted in Monni Adams, Classic and eccentric elements in East Sumba textiles; another in Van Hout, Indonesian Textiles at the Tropenmuseum, Fig. 219., TM-1772-1095 (see image below), which has a related motif: a tree-like structure crowned with cocks on all branch tips, and flamingos instead of horses. A similar, undated, example is in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Nr. 53.42.131. A hinggi that comes close is a royal Kapunduk depicted in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 208, which is likewise composed of seven transverse sections. The total amount of white field is also similar, but the lay-out is reversed: it has an ikated centre field with patola ratu motif, and two white panels bordered, as in our piece, with animal figures in white on morinda red. Also similar is that the white fields are separated from the ikated bands by a dark stripe. A late 19th to early 20th C hinggi in Adams, Forshee, c.s., Decorative Arts of Sumba, p. 98-99, has a somewhat smaller white centre field and a fish motif rather than skull trees.

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