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Ikat from East Sumba, Sumba, Indonesia

187 Sumba, East Sumba

Hinggi (men's blanket)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Sumba, East Sumba
Locale: Kapunduk.
Period: 1930-1945
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, fine, double-ply
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 158 x 234 cm (5' 2" x 7' 8")
Weight: 935 g (33.0 oz), 253 g/m2 (0.83 oz/ft2)
Design: Spectacular midfield which at first sight is similar to patola ratu, but instead of the jilampang-inspired motif normally used, here we see a pattern created by repeats of the habak (or habaku) motif. Top and bottom panels show large shrimp, as all aquatic motifs a prerogative of the nobles; jungle fowl, ayam hutan; and other, as yet unidentified motifs. Midfield is bordered by bands with snakes, end panels by bands with fishes.
Comment: Uncommonly large Sumba hinggi of the highest order, executed with great mastery, and clearly made for ostentation. The drawing of the habak midfield is exceptionally tight. Colours are uncommonly vivid for a piece of this age. Very striking is the width of this cloth. Whereas the average length over width of Sumba hinggi is circa 2, here the factor is not even quite 1.5, proportions that make the piece fully impractical as attire. No woven borders, kabakil, a further indication that this hinggi was never intended to be worn. From old Dutch collection.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sumba and East Sumba.
Exhibited: Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Compare: 188 027
Literature: The patola motif is similar to that seen on hinggi depicted on a photo (undated) made at the funeral of the king of Kapunduk, shown in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 204, and to that of a much younger hinggi on Fig. 215.
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