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Ikat from Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia

242 Borneo, Kalimantan

Kain kebat (skirt cloth)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Borneo, Kalimantan
Locale: Ketungau river people, West Kalimantan.
Period: 19th to early 20th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 1
Size: 66 x 127 cm (2' 1" x 4' 2")
Weight: 270 g (9.5 oz), 322 g/m2 (1.06 oz/ft2)
Design: Skirt decorated with ikat patterning in dark brown, rust-red and ecru . The distinctive tripartite division of the field is a characteristic of Ketunggau designs. Another hallmark of Ketungau is a number of hexagons arranged in one or more rows. The main motif is leku Nengali motif: a coiled mythological snake turning around to look for prey. This motif is used by several Ibanic groups, with only slightly varying mythological associations. The upper third of the cloth has rounded double rhombs. All of the main motifs are set off by tiny coils. The borders have 3 simple ikat strips, separated by ribbed lines of warp-faced float weave in blue and white. The field is also tripartite longitudinally, three identical sections having been put together in LR-RL-LR order.
Comment: Antique kain kebat from the Ketungau tribe. Weaving up to the exacting Ketungau standards. The reverence for the number three, sacred to all Ibanic peoples, is manifest in the vertical as well as the horizontal division of the field and in the three dotted longitudinal border stripes. Such borders are characteristic for the Ketungau, though in some cases (such as PC 212), the stripes are so elaborate that the dots are hardly recognisable as such. The brownish tone indicates that it was dyed with engkerbai rather than engkudu. Very good condition for its age. A few tiny holes, not affecting the aesthetic enjoyment. Pieces of this age and quality are rare.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Borneo and Kalimantan.
Compare: 212 220 229 230 243
Literature: Main motif very similar to that of 19 th C. kain kebat in Amann, Textiles from Borneo, Fig. 88; also similar to that of Desa skirt in Heppel, The Seductive Warp Thread, but more artistically 'clever': partly superimposed rather than simply juxtaposed, as is also done on a Baleh pua on Fig. 139. Leku Nengali identified in Heppell, The Seductive Warp Thread, p. 121. Very similar to example in East Indies Museum IDN 10-291-111, and one in collection Krzysztof Musial, B04.
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