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Ikat from West Timor, Timor, Indonesia

285 Timor, West Timor

Tais (sarong)microscope

Origin: Timor, West Timor
Locale: Probably Insana District in North Central Timor, perhaps Biboki region.
Period: Circa 1910.
Yarn: Hand spun cotton, medium, for the ikated field. Buna in pre-dyed commercial silk.
Technique: Warp ikat and buna.
Panels: 3
Size: 127 x 134 cm (4' 2" x 4' 4")
Weight: 670 g (23.6 oz), 394 g/m2 (1.29 oz/ft2)
Design: Ceremonial sarong, opened up. Two wide ikated bands each carry two sets of five makaif motifs in white on indigo that are organically linked. (Note that photo shows half of the cloth). Most of the narrow stripes were also ikated: there are thirteen narrow ikated bands with meanders in white on indigo, and eighteen very narrow ikated stripes, only a few yarns wide, in white on morinda. Futher stripes were done in pre-dyed commercial yarn. Top panel in plain indigo, deeply saturated. The bottom panel is decorated with small rectangles decorated in fine, complex buna with several different motifs. On front and back of the sarong there are more than 80 such buna embellishments, which seem to have been randomly distributed over the cloth.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] Very fine example of Timorese weaver's art. The makaif patterns are very dense, requiring meticulous binding, and the saturation of the indigo is very deep while there are no traces of dye seepage. The buna as well is clearly the work of a master weaver. The dimensions given reflect the state of the sarong, which was opened up. Comparison of front and back - which used to be the tubeskirt's inside, protected from sunlight - shows that the coral accent stripes done in synthetic dyes lost about a third of their colour intensity, whereas the ikat work, done in natural indigo and morinda, and the buna have maintained nearly all their original colour saturation. Cloth has a soft, old feel, and is in immaculate condition.
Background: For additional information see chapter on Timor and/or West Timor.
Literature: Ikated band and plain bands very similar to that of Belu-style Biboki sarong shown in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Western Timor, Fig. 122, but with far more elaborate buna.
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