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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

192 Timor, West Timor

Beti (blanket)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Amarasi, Oekabiti clan.
Period: 1930-1950
Yarn: Cotton, commercial, fine
Technique: Weft ikat
Panels: 3
Size: 139 x 255 cm (4' 6" x 8' 4")
Weight: 1050 g (37.0 oz), 296 g/m2 (0.97 oz/ft2)
Design: Plain ecru centre panel flanked by side panels with ikated bands in white on morinda red, showing the kai e'ne or kaif motif that stands for connection to the ancestors, in a form that is typical for the Oekabiti clan - and according to Gittinger has additional associations with headhunting. Narrow bands in white on black sotis (float weave) carry the no'e riu motif (riu, meaning elbow turn). Pinstripes in green and red commercial yarn.
Comment: Excellent, and very large, example of a vintage Amarasi blanket. Forms a pair with the sarong PC 191. Both stand out by their tight patterning, indicating the hand of a master weaver. The treatment of the motif is identical, so is the tonality of the morinda. The three panels have been joined so carefully that the seam is barely visible, and more easily discovered by stroking the cloth. While showing signs of fairly intensive use, much more than the female half of the pair, including smudging and staining of the white centre panel, the piece is in a very good overall state of preservation: no holes, no tears, no stains of any significance in the ikated panels.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Published: Carpet Collector 1/2016
Compare: 191 186
Literature: Nearly identical to Amarasi beti from Oekabiti in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Western Timor, Plate 1, and very similar to the one on Plate 3, except that the ikat work in our piece was done in vegetable dyes. Characteristic fine stripes in commercial yarn that separate the ikated bands very similar to those in detail shots on Plates 6 and 7. Similar to beti in Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, depicted in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 453. Similar to pre-1932 beti in Hamilton and Barrkman, Textiles of Timor, Fig. 2.19. Also similar to beti in Fowler Museum, Object ID UCLA FMCH X80.287, with long caption by Hamilton. A similar beti is warn by warrior in ceremonial attire on the side of the Raja of Amarasi on 1895 photo in Leigh-Theisen and Mittersakschmöller, LebensMuster: Textilien in Indonesien, Abb. 153.
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