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Ikat from Tanimbar, Moluccas, Indonesia

265 Moluccas, Tanimbar

Chest or turban cloth  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Moluccas, Tanimbar
Locale: Unidentified.
Period: 1950 or before
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 77 x 145 cm (2' 6" x 4' 9")
Design: Five wide ikated bands divided over two identical panels. The main ikated bands carry motifs that appear to be a compound which includes the centipede motif. The other ikated bands consist of narrow stripes decorated with snake patterns. The selvedges are decorated with narrow ikated stripes carrying scorpions and the S-motif. The same motifs decorated the three bands of four stripes each in the centre of the cloth. The eight clusters of motifs in the widest ikated bands could not be identified with certainty. It appears that the innermost in each cluster are rice pounders, while the outermost represent breast beams (looms).
Comment: Essentially a woman's chest cloth that might double as a man's turban cloth, since such cloths were used for both. The importance of the cloth is indicated by the fact that it was made of two panels. Fine example of the type with over-average detailing. Cloth has a well-worn feel, testimony to repeated use over the years, but is in immaculate condition. Ex collection J.B. Lüth.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Moluccas and Tanimbar.
Exhibited: Roemer Museum, Hildesheim, 1991. Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Published: Brigitte Khan Majlis, Woven Messages
Compare: 204 266 269
Literature: Depicted in Brigitte Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 320. Similar to undated shoulder cloth from Selaru on Fig. 321. Identical main motif on early 20th c. shoulder cloth in Van Vuuren, Ikat from Tanimbar, Fig. 10 on page 163, the name of which is not given. It appears to be a combination motif which includes the centipede shown in Fig. 105 (centipede) on p. 130. S-motif, Fig. 126, p. 156. Scorpion, Fig. 149, p. 131. Rice pounder, Fig. 26, P. 149. Breast beam, Fig. 48, p. 149.
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