Logo Pusaka Collection
spacer ONLINE MUSEUM OF INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES   CURATOR: PETER TEN HOOPEN  BROWSE FROM:  [RANDOM] [001] [025] [050] [075] [100] [125] [150] [175] [200] [225] [250] [275] [293]

left arrowright arrow

Ikat from Savu, Savu Group, Indonesia

254 Savu Group, Savu

Wei labe (shroud)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Savu Group, Savu
Locale: May have been made anywhere on the island.
Period: Mid 20th c. or before
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Size: 29.5 x 114 cm (0' 11" x 3' 8")
Weight: 120 g (4.2 oz), 357 g/m2 (1.17 oz/ft2)
Design: Rare shroud, wei labe, for a woman. A small, narrow shawl. Not to be confused with the similar looking but much longer wei méa (see PC 232) that serves as a the man's 'power cloth'. Decorated with narrow bands of cream on morinda ikat, alternated with eight stripes in very dark, nearly black indigo. Decoration of such cloths is always simple by Savu standards, the intent being not to be aesthetically pleasing, but to emanate power. Indigo weft. The alternation of short and longer white blocks in the endings, a transverse band called the hammu that is demarcated by two weft threads in white quadruple-ply weft, 3.5 cm apart, indicates that this wei labe was made for a woman, not a man.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Extremely rare sacred textile of great significance. In burial a woman's wei labe, a small shawl, is the final cloth to be laid over the body, on top of the various other ikat textiles that cover it from head to toe. Its power protects the departed on her journey to the hereafter. The spinning of the yarn is not done in the open, but during gatherings in the women's sacred ritual wini house, kare tegida, and woven during a ceremony there called mane wai. Weaving of Savunese sacred cloth is often rather loose, due to the short timespan (duration of the mane wai, usually one day) in which they must be woven, but this example is relatively firmly woven. Donated by Miep Spee who did research on Savunese ikat and studied under the tutelage of Mrs. Bireloedji, wife of the Bupati of Savu, and acquired the piece in 1983.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Savu Group and Savu.
Compare: 232
Literature: No known cognate. Please inform us when you see one elsewhere.
Add personal note

©Peter ten Hoopen, 2018
All rights reserved.