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Ikat from Romang, Moluccas, Indonesia

271 Moluccas, Romang

Sarong  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Moluccas, Romang
Locale: The island's name is also written as Romang. Belongs to the Leti Archipelago.
Period: 1920-1940
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 70 x 158 cm (2' 3" x 5' 2")
Weight: 850 g (30.0 oz), 384 g/m2 (1.26 oz/ft2)
Design: Numerous ikated bands, the four widest carrying the main motifs. The only figurative motif shows a horse and rider, depicted in a manner similar to that seen in the rimanu motifs of the Kisar and Luang aristocracy. The second most important bands are decorated with lozenges filled with crosses.
Comment: As far as known the only published Romang ikat textile - if that is what it is. Provenance provided by Verra Darwiko, generally considered a reliable informant on Moluccan textiles, but on the basis of stylistic elements it could also have been made on Luang or even Babar. We follows the counsel of Ruth Barnes: when in doubt about the provenance of old cloths, accept the one it came with as it is likely to be correct. Microscopic photography reveals hand spun cotton only. Natural dyes in the ikated bands and stripes, synthetic dyes in the pinstripes - conform the practice on most islands in the region since roughly 1880. The three-fold repeat of the motif in the second most prominent ikat bands is a feature more commonly found on rather distant Savu and Raijua, though also found on Wetar sarong PC 268. Ex collection J.B. Lüth.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Moluccas and Romang.
Compare: 091 272 278
Literature: Depicted in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 315, dated '2nd half 20th c.' - which we believe to be too conservative. Similar to circa 1910 sarong from nearby Luang depicted in Khan Majlis, Indonesische Textilien, Wege zu Goettern und Ahnen, Fig. 543, which was made for export to Timor, and to sarongs, both dated 'ca. 1910' on Fig. 546 and 549. Remarkable is that the unusual colour palette, with its pinks and peach tones, is also very similar to that of the sarong on Fig. 543. Figurative motifs also similar to those on circa 1900 Babar sarong on Fig. 558. Lozenges with elaborated crosses similar to those on circa 1913 Babar sarong, Fig. 560.
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