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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

183 Timor, West Timor

Tais (sarong)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Northern Biboki, Insana district. Tetum people.
Period: Late 19th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 54 x 188 cm (1' 9" x 6' 2")
Weight: 1030 g (36.3 oz), 507 g/m2 (1.66 oz/ft2)
Design: The motif in the widest ikat bands is a variation of the patola inspired biboek'sa, a prerogative of royalty and the nobility. For more information on the biboek'sa motif, described by Barrkman, see comments on PC 176.
Comment: Old sarong for wife of raja. Very few of these old sarongs are known (see Khan Majlis, below) because this motif used to be the prerogative of royalty, though after independence (and abolition of the rajas' formal powers) some weavers took the liberty to copy it. Two small sections on one edge, the size of a thumbprint, woven in by darning with black thread a long time ago. One area on other side, about the size of a palm print, very slightly paled. Several very small old repairs, but overall visual impact of the cloth is one of beauty and power. All hand spun yarn, vegetable dyes. Ex collection August Flick.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Exhibited: Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Literature: Similar to 19th C. tais in Granucci, Art of the Lesser Sundas, Fig. 120, but with a darker tonality. Similar to tais from Ponu, Biboki Utara, in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Western Timor, Plate 138. Confirmation from local weaver Yulian Ufa that motif was for the wife of a raja, caption of Fig. 118g. Motif similar to that on tais with additional buna work in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 271. Khan Majlis: 'Very few of these sarongs are known to date.' Pattern has inspired weavers of two recent sarongs in Fowlers Museum, depicted in Hamilton and Barrkman, Textiles of Timor, Fig. 6.8 and 6.11. Overall similarity to tais depicted on Fig. 6.16
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