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Ikat from Lio, Flores Group, Indonesia

251 Flores Group, Lio

Semba (man's shawl)microscope

Origin: Flores Group, Lio
Locale: Identification of Lio is tentative. The type is not known from literature. If it is Lio, then it probably hails from Nggela.
Period: Early 20th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand spun, fine
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 50.5 x 151 cm (19.8 x 59.4)
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. Nggela weavers in Lio 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] Type of semba not known from literature. The technique, the way of drawing and the flossy fringes all suggest Lio provenance, but this could not be confirmed by comparison with published cognates of established provenance. The cloth feels lightly starched. (Weavers in Sikka and Ende Regency, of which Lio forms part, 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 it was 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: For additional information see chapter on Flores Group and/or Lio.
Literature: No similar piece known from literature yet. Please inform us when you recognize it and can place it. 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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