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Ikat from Tanimbar, Moluccas, Indonesia

263 Moluccas, Tanimbar

Bakan (sarong)  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Moluccas, Tanimbar
Locale: As yet unidentified.
Period: Circa 1950
Yarn: Cotton, commercial, fine, quadruple-ply to achieve firmness.
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 63 x 138 cm (2' 0" x 4' 6")
Design: The six main ikated bands in each panel are mirrored stripes decorated with Tanimbar's traditional male 'flag' motifs and female 'half moon' motifs, and small tumpal motifs on one end. The three narrower ikated bands are mirrored stripes with six half moons in alternating position, with a finial that probably represents a scorpion, centiped, milliped or fish, serving as protection respectively source of luck in fishing. The long motif that separates the end sections from the middle may be an elongated maize motif. The white dots running along the red stripes protect the village from attack.
Comment: Very fine and exact ikat. The work of an accomplished weaver, much of it in elements only two threads wide. The cloth feels very dense. Dyes appear to be a mixture of chemical and natural. Microscopic imagery reveals that yellow dye bled a little into adjacent yarns, something that synthetic dyes will not normally do, whereas most natural yellow dyes such as the popular akar kayu kuning and especially curcuma, bleed very easily. Ex collection J.B. Lüth.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Moluccas and Tanimbar.
Exhibited: Roemer Museum, Hildesheim (1991)
Published: Brigitte Khan Majlis, Woven Messages
Literature: Previously published in Brigitte Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 318. End panels similar to pre-1926 sarong in Tropenmuseum, Nr. TM-329-2. Cornflower motif, Van Vuuren, Ikats from Tanimbar, Fig. 1 and 11, pg. 125. Most information based on Van Vuuren, personal communication, 2016.
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