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Ikat from Batak, Sumatra, Indonesia

253 Sumatra, Batak

Uwi (shawl)microscope

Origin: Sumatra, Batak
Locale: Si Tolu Huta area (probably), bordering Toba and Karo.
Period: 19th to very early 20th c.
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, very fine
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 1
Size: 84 x 163 cm (2' 9" x 5' 4")
Weight: 305 g (10.8 oz), 223 g/m2 (0.73 oz/ft2)
Design: Classic high class ulos in dark maroon with numerous elongated crosses in white and indigo arranged in nineteen bands on a maroon background. The bands are separated by jongkit sembilanbelas, nineteen stripes of supplementary weft in gold thread (gold wrapped around cotton core) running selvedge to selvedge. Solid solid maroon borders. Red. white and yellow pinstripes. Morinda weft. Casually twisted fringes.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Late 19th - early 20th C. ulos of high ranking family in excellent condition. Cloth is very thin, and rather tightly woven; tighter than otherwise comparable PC 174. The yarn (including the pinstripes mentioned above) is extremely fine hand spun cotton (see microscopic images), which stopped being made by the Batak around 1915. This type of ulos might be presented by maternal grandparents on the birth of a daughter's first child, or by the father of a bride to wrap around the shoulders of the pair to promote fertility, and could also be worn by women as saong, hood. Loosely twisted fringes appear to be characteristic for the type. The stripes with gold thread may represent rattan, the symbolic value of which is unclear. Immaculate condition.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sumatra and Batak.
Compare: 174 057 146 203 252
Literature: Very similar to ulos sigaragara jongkit dua puluh in Sandra Niessen, Legacy in Cloth, p. 350. Very similar textile identified as ulos mangiring, but apparently with less clear definition, with eighteen bands rather than nineteen, and without the gold thread, in Art Gallery of NSW, accession nr. 249.2000. Similar example with only nine ikated bands in Yale University Art Gallery (Holmgren and Spertus collection), ILE2006.4.111, that is merely identified as Batak and dated as 'ca. 1900'. Near-identical to PC 174. Information on type and naming provided by Sandra Niessen.
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