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Ikat from Timor-Leste, Timor, Indonesia

240 Timor, Timor-Leste

Beti (blanket)detail

Origin: Timor, Timor-Leste
Locale: Ambenu. Taiboko, most likely.
Period: Early 20th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 94.5 x 112 cm (3' 1" x 3' 8")
Weight: 740 g (26.1 oz), 699 g/m2 (2.29 oz/ft2)
Design: Six lateral bands, a number typical for Ambenu men's cloths with multiple design stripes, with ikat motif representing crocodiles - an important totem animal that many Timorese believe to have descended from and are ever almost ubiquitous in myths of origin. Forty-eight narrow stripes ikated in white on indigo, grouped in five-and-a-half bands per panel, so that at the seam three bands are running alongside. The middle of the cloth is marked on both sides by five tiny embroidered rectangles and lozenges.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Rare men's stole of advanced age. 'Full asli': hand spun thread and vegetable dyes. A noble cloth, that in its restraint, its forsaking of displays of virtuosity, holds great strength.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and Timor-Leste.
Literature: Similar pattern on Ambenu sarong in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Timor, Plate 189. Also similar to Ambenu beti on Fig. 198. Both these examples are from Taiboko, and equally have six main ikated bands and numerous ikated stripes. The crocodile motif is curiously similar to Tanimbarese motifs shown in Van Vuuren, Fig. 65, 129, that she identifies as fish-man.
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