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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia
 

245 Timor, West Timor


Mau (blanket)detail  magnifiermicroscope



Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Miomafo or Amanuban
Period: 1930-1950
Yarn: Cotton, commercial, fine, double-ply
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 4
Size: 154 x 260 cm (5' 0" x 8' 6")
Design: Stacked and interlocking humanoid figures, shaped to make them froglike, 'frogmen'. Locally called katak (frog) motif, which represents the life cycle of generations. Note how the large figures, probably representing ancestors, appear to give birth to the smaller figures nestled underneath. The smaller figures in the two central bands are slightly larger than those above and below them. Very unusual is the asymmetry: three columns of motifs on the left versus four on the right. Most of the work was done on warp skeins of only four threads, producing 'rods' on the two identical ikated panels merely two threads wide. Curiously, the style of the headdress, with the inward curl, which almost certainly represents the pilu saluf headdress of a meo warrior, is very similar to that on a Sarawak pua, 037, suggesting that this is an archaic motif with wide distribution.
Comment: Large blanket with striking design, very well executed. Natural dyes in the ikated central panel, pre-dyed commercial yarn in the side panels. The indigo was done in two stages, producing pale and darker blue. The pinkish red shows bleeding both longitudinally and laterally, indicating an unstable vegetable dye. Slight fading of the side panels (which makes their tonality more pleasant than it must have been originally) but otherwise in immaculate state of preservation. Excellent ikating produced crisp drawing, and a distinctive sense of refinement. Clearly the work of a master weaver. Ex collection August Flick. [Its large size preventing photography of the entire whole cloth, the image is composed of two mirroring halves - closely matching reality.]
Background: Additional information in chapters on Timor and West Timor.
Compare: 112 159 181 182
Literature: The heads of the figures are very similar to those on PC 244, which a Portuguese source identifies as crocodiles - on Timor generally regarded as belonging in the people's ancestral chain. Curiously, the style of the headdress, with the inward curl, is very similar to that on a Sarawak pua, 037, suggesting that this is an archaic motif with wide distribution.
  
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