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Ikat from Timor-Leste, Timor, Indonesia

292 Timor, Timor-Leste

Beti (blanket)

Origin: Timor, Timor-Leste
Locale: Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Village in the lower elevations. Atoni people.
Period: 1950 or before
Yarn: Yet to be investigated. Hand-spun expected.
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Design: Beti of the type that Yeager and Jacobson call 'mutliple design stripe', which is typical for Ambenu. The two widest ikated panels are decorated with the traditional Atoni 'katak' (lit. 'frog') motif, an anthropomorph made to look very much like a zoomorph - often in combination with smaller motifs of the same kind emerging from between the legs of the larger. They are generally interpreted as standing for the individual in his or her line of ancestry.
Comment: [PHOTOGRAPHY PROVISIONAL] The first published example of Ambenu ikat with katak motif. The weaver has chosen a simple, yet decidedly uncommon method to achieve the asymmetry that in Ambenu (as opposed to Insana, Mollo, Amanuban and other nearby parts of West Timor) is de regueur: reversing one of the two warp skeins that were created in parallel for the two panels. See image below, in which the rightmost panel was flipped vertically to show that the two are in fact identical. The two narrower ikated bands are decorated with looping figures of unknown significance that are also used in the kingdom of Mollo, to the southwest of Ambenu. If forced to guess one might come up with 'crocodiles' as these are a very popular motif on Timor - a powerful totem - and come in countless forms from stylized figuration to deformation almost beyond recognition. The field is created by numerous stippled stripes in parallel, in a variety of pastel shades.
Background: For additional information see chapter on Timor and/or Timor-Leste.
Compare: 002 169 118 256 189
Literature: Main motif very similar to 'katak' from Amanuban in Yeager and Jacobson, Textiles of Timor, human motifs, Fig 45i. Field-collector Aja Bordeville on her website shows a sarong from Mollo (REF#MOL699) with a main motif that is very similar to the motif of the side bands in this piece.

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