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Ikat from Solor, Solor Archipelago, Indonesia

221 Solor Archipelago, Solor

Kewatek (sarong)  magnifier

Origin: Solor Archipelago, Solor
Locale: Western Solor, village unknown. Lamaholot people.
Period: 1950 or before
Yarn: Cotton, hand spun, coarse
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 64 x 134 cm (2' 1" x 4' 4")
Weight: 655 g (23.1 oz), 382 g/m2 (1.25 oz/ft2)
Design: Kewatek méan, the highest ranking bridewealth sarong of Solor. Two wide bands with a large diamond flanked by two half diamonds, a pattern that was almost certainly patola-inspired. Midfield consists of twelve narrow bands with the belego, hollow of the knee, motif. Many parts of the pattern have been executed in belapit: morinda overdyed with indigo. According to the rules for this type of cloth on Solor (as in Ili Mandiri and Bama on Flores, across the strait), the weft was dyed morinda as well. Excellent saturation of the morinda.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Very rare. In Without Cloth We Cannot Marry, Barnes writes that by 1982 'The proper red cloth had virtually disappeared and the lesser versions of bridewealth cloth had become an accepted gift instead.' Due to the scarcity of morinda root on the island, preparation of a cloth like this according to Barnes would take 'many years'. Perhaps for that reason the weaving, while very clear, is fairly loose, showing off the morinda weft. Pinstripes, only one or two threads wide, in yellow, red and pale blue commercial cotton.
Background: For additional information see chapter on Solor Archipelago and/or Solor.
Published: Carpet Collector 2/2016
Literature: Very similar to early 20th C. kewatek mean in Ernst Vatter collection, depicted in Barnes, Ostindien im 20. Jahrhundert, Abb. 151. The diamond pattern, but much smaller and with more repeats is shown in Barnes, Without Cloth We Cannot Marry, Fig. 4. Similar to kewatek with simpler design in the Yale Indo-Pacific Collection, donated by Robert H. Barnes, Nr. 001639.
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