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Ikat from Bali, Bali Group, Indonesia

250 Bali Group, Bali

Anteng (breast cloth)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Bali Group, Bali
Locale: Buleleng Regency, a former kingdom in northern Bali. Probably Singaraja or Banjar. Note that this Hindu region has an important Muslim minority.
Period: 19th to early 20th c.
Yarn: Silk, commercial
Technique: Weft ikat (endek) and songket
Panels: 1
Size: 68 x 168 cm (2' 2" x 5' 6")
Design: Field decorated with an array of ikat lozenges arranged in twenty rows and eleven columns. Overlayed with decoration in gold and silver songket, which accentuates the pattern of lozenges by placing songket lozenges within them, with larger and smaller motifs alternating per column. The way the ikated lozenges were created, simply by the crossing of diagonals, has been used by Southeast Asian Islamic weavers for centuries. Seemingly random touches of overdying of yellow and red with indigo accentuate the shimmering common to all ikat, a clearly intentional effect.
Comment: The pattern shows up several irregularities. These are so common in old endek as to almost serve as a hallmark: newer ones are invariably perfect. The colours appear to be (largely) natural: the green dye, known to be unstable, has decayed to a point where it shows up only under the microscope - which with its bright led lights shows up traces of dye that are invisible to the naked eye. The yellow, probably curcuma, is still visible, softened to an ochre that beautifully matches the warm red, the nature of which could not be established, though both the tonality and the variation in colour saturation seen in the microscopic images suggests that it is natural.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Bali Group and Bali.
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