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Ikat from East Sumba, Sumba, Indonesia

283 Sumba, East Sumba

Lau (sarong)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Sumba, East Sumba
Locale: Kambera region
Period: Ca. 1940
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 60 x 178 cm (1' 11" x 5' 10")
Weight: 660 g (23.3 oz), 309 g/m2 (1.01 oz/ft2)
Design: Lau kawaru with unusual patterning. Each panel has four bands of rounded oblong boxes containing four shapes that resemble young ferns. This motif is called hiamba roti. Between each primary band is a narrower band carrying notched lozenges called wo ri paita that are very similar to the Savunese boda motif, and are aligned with the main motifs in such a way as to make them seem anthropomorphic, which may well be unintentional. Each half is bordered by a line of square meanders called liakat.
Comment: The three shades of indigo stand in high contrast with the white figures, creating a dramatic intensity. Its rhythm has what can only be termed as 'swing'. The different degrees of indigo saturation are the result of untying some of the binding between consecutive dye baths. Piece is in excellent condition, showing very light wear and slight fading towards each end, but no holes, stains, or tears. The handspun cotton has a well-used, soft feel, and is a warm, creamy white.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Sumba and East Sumba.
Literature: Provenance and name of the motifs provided by Sumbanese textile expert Freddy Hambuwali.
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