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Ikat from Ngadha, Flores Group, Indonesia

251 Flores Group, Ngadha

Hoba (shawl)microscope

Origin: Flores Group, Ngadha
Locale: Identification as Ngadha is tentative, and based on comparison to a single cognate. May also be Lio.
Period: Circa 1950
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, fine
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 50.5 x 151 cm (1' 7" x 4' 11")
Weight: 200 g (7.1 oz), 262 g/m2 (0.86 oz/ft2)
Design: Clearly patola-inspired overall pattern, which recalls the style of neighbouring Ende from the first quarter of the 20th C. and before, with its elaborate lateral borders. This style was perpetuated in Ndona, in between Ende and Lio, but nothing in the colouration suggests Ndona, which favours a much darker tonality. Ngada weavers appear to use yellow only for one specific type of cloth. Lio weavers like working with yellows, especially for fine drawing. Traditional dyes were akar kayu and turmeric, though they began using chemical dyes early in the 20th C. Testing (see below) shows that natural dye was used, most likely turmeric.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] The star-like motifs and the colour palette are similar to that of a published Ngada hoba uwa pote. The use of yellow and the flossy fringes are also compatible with a Lio provenance, but there are no published cognates of this design type. The cloth feels lightly starched. (Florinese weavers often work with starched warp.) As curcuma fades quickly after repeated exposure to the sun, this cloth must have been laid aside as a pusaka, or have been acquired shortly after it was made. Either way it probably spent most of its existence in a cupboard, local or colonial. From old Dutch collection.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Flores Group and Ngadha.
Literature: Similar to cloth identitfied as hoba uwa pote in Therik, Tenun Ikat Dari Timur The image belows shows the result of a failed colourfastness test run on one section of thread cut from the fringe. The tint of yellow imprint on the paper is consistent with curcuma.

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