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Ikat from East Sumba, Sumba, Indonesia

222 Sumba, East Sumba

Hinggi (men's blanket)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Sumba, East Sumba
Locale: Kanatang.
Period: 1930
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, extremely fine, double-ply
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 148 x 248 cm (4' 10" x 8' 1")
Weight: 925 g (32.6 oz), 252 g/m2 (0.83 oz/ft2)
Design: Hinggi with extremely rare axially asymmetric design: in marked deviation from the East-Sumbanese tradition, top and bottom have similar but markedly different motifs. One side shows six andung, skull trees bordered by bands with cockatoos - the hallmark of Kanatang nobility - and horses. The other side shows three skull trees bordered by bands with cockatoos and un unknown zoomorphic motif, perhaps birds in flight. Patola midfield, broken into three sections by two bands with fishes and unknown motif. Various small animals, mainly snakes, fill the spaces between.
Comment: Extremely rare Sumba textile that lacks the usual axial symmetry - and hence requires twice as many ties as a normal hinggi, about 10,000 in this case. The 'pagi sore' approach, with different top and bottom, was en vogue for a while in the late 1950s and 1960s, probably to please the demanding foreign market. Examples from the early 20th C. have been rumoured to exist, but before this piece was found we did not see another. If there are other such hinggi extant they have not been published. Note the classic division of the field in eleven bands. Absence of a kabakil, a border woven across the warp, indicates that the cloth 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.
Literature: No true cognate known from literature. The existence of early cloths of this type was reported to one researcher, the name of the type given as searah, 'one way'. Jill Forshee, pers. comm., 2016.
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