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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

182 Timor, West Timor

Beti (blanket)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Miomafo, Biboki, Insana district, probably from area just north of Kefemenanu; Atoin Meto (Atoni) people.
Period: Circa 1950
Yarn: Cotton, quadruple-ply fine commercial thread
Technique: Warp ikat and supplementary warp
Panels: 3
Size: 128 x 173 cm (4' 2" x 5' 8")
Weight: 780 g (27.5 oz), 352 g/m2 (1.15 oz/ft2)
Design: Stacked and interlocking humanoid figures, shaped to make them froglike, 'frogmen'. Locally called katak (frog) motif, which appears to represent the life cycle of generations. Note how the large figures appear to give birth to the smaller figures nestled beneath. Interestingly, this motif, in somewhat simpler form, is also seen in the Philippines. Border panels decorated in silk buna, discontinuous supplementary warp, with figurative motifs representing fishes, flying fishes, and human shapes.
Comment: Archetypal Miomafo in excellent condition. Not a very rare type of cloth per se, but outstanding on account of the motif's intricacy and tight execution and the fine buna, suplementary warp, in silk on the borders, a sign of high status as tradionally only higher classes had access to silk. One small hole in border, size of a fingertip. The complexity of the pattern and its excellent execution show the hand of a master weaver. Load the hires page and study it with the loupe!
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Exhibited: Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Published: Carpet Collector 2/2015
Compare: 181 245
Literature: Very similar to beti in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Western Timor, Plate 167, and to the one on the cover, but decades older and with border panels decorated in supplementary warp rather than ikat, similar to those seen on Plates 175 and 176 and Fig. 136, all showing beti from eastern Miomafo. Katak motif, slightly less intricate, shown on loom in close-up on Fig. 136. Similar to equally intricate beti on Fig. 143, from the Tunbaba kefetoran in Miomafo. Variations of Miomafo katak motifs shown in silhouette on Fig.142. Similar to beti with ikated borders in Fowlers Museum, shown in Hamilton and Barrkman, ed., Textiles of Timor, Fig. 2.35, which has comparable level of intricacy. Also similar to motif in Langewis and Wagner, Decorative Art in Indonesian Textiles, Plate 18.
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