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Literature on Indonesian ikat textiles


Textile specific

There is a wealth of literature on ikat textiles, much of it published by, or in collaboration with leading museums and universities. Below is a partial list, including most of the works that have come to be regarded as classics of the field.

Information derived from the published or unpublished work of others is acknowledged by the below list of references. Beyond the respective specific sources a body of literature is shared that has informed the Pusaka Collection in another sense: by helping the collector understand the cultural context in which the collected textiles needed to be placed so as to realize their social role and symbolical value; or by shedding light on contemporary conditions on various island communities that impact the way traditional ikat is made or not made.

Splendid Symbols, cover
  • Adams, Marie Jeanne, System and Meaning in East Sumba Textile Design: A Study in Traditional Indonesian Art, Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1969. The first monograph on ikat from East Sumba, one of the most cited sources of information on the subject.
  • Adams, Marie Jeanne, Symbols of the Organized Community in East Sumba, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Deel 130, 2/3de Afl., 1974. Important information, not found elsewhere, on clans' use of symbols.
  • Adams, Marie Jeanne, Jill Forshee, c.s., Decorative Arts of Sumba, Pepin Press, in collaboration with Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology, 1999. Has section on Sumba ikats, showing off some of the museum's fabulous old pieces - the oldest in western collections.
  • Adams, Monni, Classic and eccentric elements in East Sumba textiles, Needle and Bobbin Bulletin 55, 1972. Important early article on Sumba iconography.
  • Amann, Heribert, Textiles from Borneo, Iban Kantu Ketungau and Mualang Peoples. 5 Continents Editions, 2013. A well documented presentation of the author's collection of Iban pua, with contributions by Brigitte Khan Majlis, and excellently reproduced old photographs by Hedda Morrison.
  • Barbier, Jean Paul, and Douglas Newton, Islands and Ancestors, Indigenous Styles of Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1988.
  • Barrkman, Joanna, Indian Patola and Trade Cloth Influence on the Textiles of the Atoin Meto People of West Timor, Archipel. Volume 77, 2009. pp. 155-182. Study focused on Biboki showing that, contrary to assertions by several respected authors, there definitely was patola influence on West-Timorese ikat. Online at URL.
  • Barrkman, Joanna, The Textiles of Cova Lima, National Directorate of Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, Timor-Leste, in collaboration with Timor Aid, 2014.
  • Barnes, Robert Harrison, Lamakera, Solor: ethnographic notes on a Muslim whaling village of Eastern Indonesia, published in Anthropos, no. 9, Paulus Verlag, 1996.
  • Barnes, Ruth, The Ikat Textiles of Lamalera, A Study of an Eastern Indonesian Weaving, E.J. Brill, 1989. Hard to find, therefore expensive, but available in most academic libraries.
  • Barnes, Ruth, Without Cloth We Cannot Marry, The Textiles of the Lamaholot in Transition. Journal of Museum Ethnography, No. 2, March 1991. (Republished in Fragile Traditions: Indonesian Art in Jeopardy, 1994.)
  • Barnes, Ruth, Textile Design in Southern Lembata: Tradition and Change, in Jeremy Coote and Anthony Shelton, ed., Anthropology, Art and Esthetics, Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Barnes, Ruth, Change and Tradition in Lamaholot Textiles, The Ernst Vatter Collection in Historical Perspective, in Nabholz-Kartaschoff c.s., Weaving Patterns of Life, Museum of Ethnography Basel, 1993. Worth mentioning separately because of its attention to the Vatters' badly underexposed collection - and to the equally underexposed contribution of courageous and dedicated Hannah Vatter.
  • Barnes, Ruth, Thirty Five Years of Textile Studies in Eastern Indonesia in Oxford Asian Textiles Group Newsletter No. 28, 2004.
  • Barnes, Ruth, Ostindonesien im 20. Jahrhundert, Auf den Spuren der Sammlung Ernst Vatter, Museum der Weltkulturen, 2004. The famous Ernst Vatter collection from eastern NTT, including textiles, mostly ikat, collected in 1928-'29, lovingly presented and much enriched with commentaries, comparisons between the Vatters' findings and her own more recent observations.
  • Barnes, Ruth, Mary Hunt Kahlenberg, Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles: The Mary Hunt Kahlenberg Collection, Prestel, 2010.
  • Bezemer, Prof. T.J., Indonesische Kunstnijverheid, Ten Hagen, in collaboration with Koloniaal Instituut, Amsterdam, undated, probably late 1930s.
  • Brakel, Koos van, David van Duuren and Itie van Hout, A Passion for Indonesian Art, The Georg Tillman Collection, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, 1996.
  • Breguet, Georges, A Textile from the Rongkong Toraja in the Barbier-Mueller Collection, Arts & Cultures, Vol. 1, 2000.
  • Breguet, Georges, Geneviève Duggan, Marie-Louise Nabholz-Kartaschoff, et al., La Fibre Des Ancêtres, Trésors Textiles d'Indonésie de la Collection Georges Breguet, Infolio, 2006. A presentation of the Swiss collector Breguet's fine collection, enriched by contributions from several scholars.
  • Brinkgreve, Francine, and David J. Stuart Fox, Living with Indonesian Art, The Frits Liefkes Collection, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde, 2013. Monograph on one of the world's richest collections of Indonesian Art, including fine ikat textiles, published at the occasion of an exhibition at the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leiden.
  • Bühler, Alfred, Die Herstellung von Ikattüchern auf der Insel Rote, in Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft von Basel, Vol. 50., 1938-1939. Earliest study on Roti ikat.
  • Bühler, Alfred, Urs Ramseyer and Nicole Ramseyer-Gygi, Patola und geringsing: Zeremonialtücher aus Indien und Indonesien, Museum für Volkerkunde, 1975. A classic source.
  • Bühler, Alfred, and Eberhard Fischer, The Patola of Gujarat, Krebs, Basel, 1979. The 2-volume, cassette bound classic.
  • Bullough, Nigel, Woven Treasures from Insular Southeast Asia, Auckland Institute and Museum, 1981.
  • Burkunk, Bastiaan, Loan Oei, c.s., Ikat in Katoen, Katoeninstituut, Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (Tropenmuseum), Amsterdam, 1982.
  • Castro, Joaquim Magalhães de, A linguagem dos ikat, O Clarim, Semanário Católico de Macau, 16 January 2015. Review of Peter ten Hoopen, Linguagens Tecidas/Woven Languages, that displays knowledge of Portuguese influence on ikat in Sikka district of Flores.
  • Cederroth, Sven, A Sacred Cloth Religion?: Ceremonies of the Big Feast Among the Wetu Telu Sasak, NIAS Press, 1995.
  • Chalmers, Linda Louis, Ikat sequences and social-cultural patterns: the impact of industrialization on the lives of Iban artisans in Sarawak, unpublished PhD thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland, 1993. Online at URL.
  • Cinatti, Ruy, Motivos Artísticos Timorenses e a sua Integração, Museu de Etnologia, Lisboa, 1987. Excellent inventory of the patterns in use across Timor-Leste and parts of West Timor, and across techniques.
  • Clamagirand, Brigitte, Le travail du coton chez les Ema de Timor portugais, Archipel. Volume 3, 1972. pp. 55-80. Rare source, quite detailed, on the futus (ikat) of the Marobo in Timor-Leste. Online at URL.
  • Christou, Maria, An Ethnographic Study of the Loom and Weaving of the Sa'Dan Toraja of To'Barana', unpublished master's thesis, University Of Alberta, 1997.
  • Denys, Luc, c.s., Ikat, City of Antwerp, Education Department, 1991. Covers ikat from all over the world, including 75 from Indonesia, many of them 19th or early 20th. Identification is not always reliable.
  • Cutsem-Vanderstraete, Anne van, Magie van de Vrouw, Weefsels en sieraden uit de Gordel van Smaragd. Wereldmuseum, 2012. Lavishly illustrated heavy tome, entirely bilingual, except for the title which might read 'Woman's Magic'. Shows the best of the museum's very old pieces and other rare ikats, including some from the Thomas Murray collection. Oddly misrepresents a Kisar sarong as 'Babar', otherwise well documented.
  • Desai, Chelnai, Ikat Textiles of India (covering the patola that served as models for many Indonesian ikat textiles), Thames and Hudson, 1987.
  • Dijk, Toos van, Gouden eiland in de Bandazee. Socio-kosmische ideeën op Marsela, Maluku Tenggara, Indonesië, CNWS, 2000. Based on two years of field work on the Babar Islands. Short but valuable chapter on ikat weaving.
  • Drake, Richard Allen, Ibanic Textile Weaving, Expedition Vol. 30, No. 1., Penn Museum, 1988. Concise report from deep in Kalimantan that manages to cover most of the basics.
  • Duggan, Geneviève, Ikats of Savu: Women Weaving History in Eastern Indonesia, White Lotus Press, Bangkok, 2001. First monograph on the ikat textiles of Savu, based on long term field work. In-depth and richly illustrated.
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    Ikats of Savu
     
  • Duggan, Geneviève, and Benny Gratha, Woven Stories, Traditional Textiles from the Regency Savu Raijua. Museum Tekstil Jakarta, 2013. Exhibition catalogue with excellent overview of the various styles found on the islands.
  • Fischer, Joseph, Threads of Tradition, Textiles of Indonesia and Serawak, Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California, 1979. A collection of short articles on the subject with good background information on techniques and social context.
  • Forshee, Jill, Between the Folds: Stories of Cloth, Lives, and Travels from Sumba, University of Hawai'i Press, 2001. Relates how Sumbanese weavers are impacted by modernity, the possibilities and demands of the market created by international interest in their product.
  • Fortgens, J., Het Saoe'sche doodenoffer en de maskerade, in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië, Deel 68, Martinus Nijhoff, 1913. The only old source on the Sahu's use of ikat.
  • Fraser-Lu, Sylvia, Handwoven Textiles of South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, 1989. Very detailed descriptions different ikat processes, weaving techniques. Excellent index and many illustrations of motif elements makes this a valuable handbook.
  • Freeman, Derek, Some reflections on the nature of Iban society, Australian National University, 1981. Excellent, oft quoted, study based on 30 months of field work, with detailed illustrations of pua patterns by Monica Freeman.
  • Fundação Oriente (various editors), Povos de Timor, Povo de Timor, Fundação Oriente, 2006. Catalogue, trilingual, of exhibition in Museo de Etnologia, Lisbon, published by Fundação Oriente, 1989. Partly illustrated.
  • Gavin, Traude, The Women's Warpath, Iban Ritual Fabrics from Borneo, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1996. Main theme is the parallel between female and male acquisition of status by weaving and headhunting respectively.
  • Gavin, Traude, Iban Ritual Fabrics, Singapore University Press, 2004. One of the main themes is clarification of patterns and what their names truly mean - which led to heated discussion.
  • Geirnaert-Martin, Danielle C., The Snake's Skin: Traditional Ikat in Kodi, published in Völger & Von Welck, Indonesian Textiles (see below). Rich source of information on region largely ignored in literature.
  • Geirnaert, Danielle C., Le maître-python à Sumba, Études rurales, N°143-144, 1996. Dieux du sol en Asie. pp. 81-94. Online at URL.
  • Gillow, John, Traditional Indonesian Textiles, Thames and Hudson 1992.
  • Gittinger, Mattiebelle, ed., Indonesian Textiles, Irene Emery Round Table on Museum Textiles, The Textile Museum, Washington, 1979. A heavy tome of 440 pages in typescript, richly illustrated. Rare.
  • Gittinger, Mattiebelle, Splendid Symbols, Textiles and Tradition in Indonesia, The Textile Museum, Washington, 1979. Often cited as the book that sparked non-specialist interest in Indonesian textiles.
  • Gittinger, Mattiebelle, ed., To Speak with Cloth, UCLA Museum of Cultural History, 1989.
  • Granucci, Anthony, Art of the Lesser Sundas, Editions Didier Millet, 2005. Excellent study on the art of the region, including its ikat, and on the history of the region, especially its importance in the inter-island trade.
  • Haddon, A.C., and L.E. Start, Iban or Sea Dayak Fabrics and their Patterns, Ruth Bean, 1982. Even though the validity of some of the information is contested, 'Haddon' remains one of the most quotes books on the subject.
  • Hamilton, Roy W., Gift of the Cotton Maiden, Textiles of Flores and the Solor Islands, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1994. Excellent, in-depth study of the subject, rich in field-acquired knowledge, lavishly illustrated.
  • Hamilton, Roy W., and Joanna Barrkman, ed., Textiles of Timor, Island in the Woven Sea, Fowler Museum at UCLA, 2014. Exhibition catalogue. Excellent, in-depth coverage of all Timor, west and east, by an editorial board rich in established authorities, lavishly illustrated. Though the book shows several rare antiques, many of the cloths depicted are contemporary.
  • Hauser-Schäublin, Brigitta, Marie-Louise Nabholz-Kartaschoff and Urs Ramseyer, Textiles in Bali, Periplus Editions, 1991. The best monograph on Balinese textiles to date.
  • Heppell, Michael, Limbang Anak Melak and Enian Anak Usen, Iban Art: Sexual Selection and Severed Heads, KIT Publishers, 2006. Excellent field study on the subject, with rich background information provided by the two Iban co-authors.
  • Heppell, Michael, The Seductive Warp Thread, Borneo Research Council, 2014. Study focused on the history of Ibanic weaving across Sarawak and Kalimantan. Illustrated with numerous very rare pieces.
  • Hersey, Irwin, Indonesian Primitive Art, Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Holmgren, Robert J., and Anita E. Spertus, Early Indonesian Textiles, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in cooperation with Harry N. Abrams, 1989.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, Woven Languages / Linguagens Tecidas, Museo do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014. Catalogue of the eponymous exhibition, the first in the world to show the profusion of Indonesian ikat styles in a comprehensive manner. Richly illustrated. Order here.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, De marketing van een culturele erfenis, NRC Handelsblad, 6 April 1982.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, The 'Discovery' of Indonesian ikats, Carpet Collector, 4/2014.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, Sources of Passion, Carpet Collector, 1/2015.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, Motifs and meaning in Indonesian ikat, Carpet Collector, 2/2015.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, The sacred double ikat of Tenganan, Carpet Collector, 3/2015.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, The pattern that launched a thousand imitations, Carpet Collector, 4/2015.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, European influence on Indonesian ikat, Carpet Collector, 1/2016.
  • Hoopen, Peter ten, The concept of virginity in Indonesian ikat, Carpet Collector, 2/2016.
  • Hoskins, Janet, Why Do Ladies Sing the Blues? Indigo Dyeing, Cloth Production, and Gender Symbolism In Kodi, published in Cloth and Human Experience edited by Annette B. Weiner and Jane Schneider, Smithsonian Books, revised edition, 1991.
  • Hunt Kahlenberg, Mary ed., Textile Traditions of Indonesia, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977. A thin volume, but universallly acknowledged as one of the groundlaying studies. Includes James J. Fox's article, Roti, Ndao and Savu.
  • Indrianingsih, Anastasia Wheni, and Cici Darsih, Natural Dyes from Plants Extract and Its Applications in Indonesian Textile Small Medium Scale Enterprise. Published in Eksergi 11.1, 2013. Compact overview that mentions sirih as a dyestuff. URL
  • Jong, Willemijn de, and Richard Kunz, Mustergültig, Globale Spuren in der lokalen Ikat-Mode, Museum der Kulturen, Basel, 2016.
  • Jonge, Nico de, and Toos van Dijk, Vergeten Eilanden, Kunst & Cultuur van de Zuidoost-Molukken, in collaboration with Museum for Volkenkunde, Leiden, Periplus Productions, 1995. English translation Forgotten Islands, also Periplus, 1995. A classic study by authors who spent many years in the region.
  • Jasper, J.E. and Mas Pirngadie, Inlandsche Kunstnijverheid in Nederlandsch Indië, Deel II, Weefkunst, Mouton & Co., 1912. A classic study on weaving in the Dutch East Indies - by far the richest old source on our subject. Excellently digitized (searchable!) by Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library: URL
  • Kagiya, Akiko, Female culture in Raijua: ikats and everlasting witch-worship in Eastern Indonesia, Japan Publications Inc., 2010. Even harder to get than old ceremonial Raijua textiles.
  • Kreifeldt, John, Ceremonial skirts of Kalimantan’s Kualang, Kantu’ and Ketungau, in Arts of Asia Vol 36, Nr. 4, 2006.
  • Kreifeldt, John, Jewels of the Kantu’ Ikat Weavings from Kalimantan Barat, in Arts of Asia Vol. 40, Nr. 6, 2010.
  • Kreps, Christina, Intangible Threads: Curating the Living Heritage of Dayak Ikat Weaving, in Stefano, Michelle L., Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, Boydell & Brewer, 2012.
  • Kartiwa, Suwati and Unggul Hermanto, Tenun Ikat, Indonesia's Ikat Weaving Traditions. Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Indonesia, 2nd ed., 2010. Presents both fine antique pieces and products of the tourism industry. Text describes the positive effects of modernisation, while (understandably) papering over the concomitant loss of cultural values.
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    Woven Messages
     
  • Khan Majlis, Brigitte, Gewebte Botschaften / Woven Messages, Indonesische Traditionen im Wandel / Indonesian Textile Tradition in Course of Time, Roemer Museum, Hildesheim, 1991. Bilingual handbook, archipelago-wide and very rich in information.
  • Khan Majlis, Brigitte, Indonesische Textilien, Wege zu Göttern und Ahnen, Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, 1984. Overview of German museum collections.
  • Kjellgren, Eric, Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007.
  • Kotilainen, Eija-Maija, When the bones are left: A study of the material culture of central Sulawesi, Finnish Anthropological Society, 1992.
  • Langewis, Laurens, and Frits. A. Wagner, Decorative Art in Indonesian Textiles, C.P.J. van der Peet, 1964. A classic in the field, rich in essential information.
  • Larsen, Jack Lenor, c.s., The Dyer's Art: Ikat, Batik, Plangi, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1977. An overview of resist dye techniques world-wide.
  • Leigh-Theisen, Heide, and Reinhold Mittersakschmöller, LebensMuster: Textilien in Indonesien, Museum für Völkerkunde Wien, 1995. Catalogue of exhibition.
  • Linggi, Datin Amar Margaret, Ties that Bind, Iban Ikat Weaving, Tun Jugah Foundation, 2001. Important work by a master weaver, illustrated with 70 full-page depictions of excellent pua and a few other textiles, and many photographs of the ikat process.
  • Marval, Gaspar de, and Georges Breguet, Au Fil des Îles, Musée d'Ethnographie Neuchâtel, 2008. Scholarly catalogue of the collection, mostly textiles, which contains numerous very rare pieces.
  • Maxwell, John R., and Robyn J. Maxwell, Textiles of Indonesia, An Introductory Handbook, Indonesian Arts Society, 1976. Not exactly a handbook, but a brief introduction to the topic.
  • Maxwell, Robyn J., Textiles of Southeast Asia, Revised edition, Periplus, 2003. Comprehensive study of the subject. The exemplary fine-grained index makes this substantial work a true handbook.
  • Maxwell, Robyn J., Sari to Sarong, Five hundred years of Indian and Indonesian textile exchange, National Gallery of Australia, 2003. Explores the rich interculturality between the two regions.
  • Mayer Thurman, Christa, and Brigitte Khan Majlis, The Art Of Indonesian Textiles, The E.M. Bakwin Collection at The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Studies, volume 33, number 2, 2007. A scholarly presentation of industrialist Bakwin's rich collection, including one of the few known Los Palos tais.
  • Nabholz-Kartaschoff, Marie-Louise, Ruth Barnes and J. Stuart Fox, ed. , Weaving Patterns of Life, Museum of Ethnography Basel, 1993. Collection of symposium contributions, several dealing with ikat: from Bali, West Sumba and Kodi, Serawak, Ndona, Sikka, Lamaholot region.
  • Niessen, Sandra, Motifs of Life in Toba Batak Texts and Textiles, self-published doctoral thesis, 1985.
  • Niessen, Sandra, Legacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia, KITLV Press, Leiden, 2009. Likely to remain the most complete study of Batak textiles ever made, with 900+ illustrations.
  • Niggemeyer, Dr. H., Baumwollweberei auf Ceram, Ciba Rundschau NO. 106, 1952. One of the few (if not the only) well informed source(s) on the textiles of Seram/Ceram, based on travel and study of samples in the collections of ethnographic museums in Germany and the Netherlands. Ironically, the article is interspersed with ads for Ciba's chemical dyes. In library of Museum der Weltkulturen, No. H3MZ314.
  • Oley, Liz, Ulap Doyo: woven fibers of East Kalimantan, in Roy W. Hamilton and B. Lynne Milgram, editors, Material choices : refashioning bast and leaf fibers in Asia and the Pacific, Hamilton, 2007.
  • Rodgers, Susan, Anne Summerfield, John Summerfield, Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia's Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity, KITLV Press, 2007.
  • Saunders, Kim, Contemporary Tie and Dye textiles of Indonesia, Oxford University Press, 1997. Other than most literature on Indonesian ikat, this work focuses on contemporary textiles and the conditions impacting its manufacture.
  • Sather, Clifford, All Threads Are White”: Iban Egalitarianism Reconsidered, in Fox, James J. and Clifford Sather, Origins, Ancestry and Alliance, Explorations in Austronesian Ethnography, by Australian National University, 1996; republished 2006.
  • Schefold, Reimar, and Steven G. Alpert, Eyes of the Ancestors, The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art, Yale University Press, 2013. A relatively small part of the book deals with textiles, including ikat, but the average quality of the pieces shown is high.
  • Sibeth, Achim, and Uli Kozok, Les Batak: des hommes en Indonésie : un peuple de l'île de Sumatra, Editions Olizane, 1991. Includes short but good section on textiles.
  • Spee, Miep, Een taal van Draden. Unpublished manuscript, 1998. Made available for download by the author. URL
  • Taylor, Paul Michael, and Lorraine V. Aragon, Beyond the Java Sea, Art of Indonesia's Outer Islands, Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with Harry N. Abrams, 1991.
  • Therik, Jes A., Tenun Ikat Dari Timur: Keindahan Anggun Warisan Leluhur = Ikat in Eastern Archipelago: An Esoteric Beauty of Ancestral Entity, Pustaka Sinar Harapan, 1989. Hard to find bilingual study by author of Rotinese origin who grew up in Timor.
  • Timmer, Jaap, Cloths of Civilisation: Kain Timur in the Bird's Head of West Papua, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 12:4, 2011, p. 383-401. Illuminates the role of Seram and other ikat in the trade with New Guinea, past and present.
  • Taylor, Paul Michael, ed., Fragile Traditions: Indonesian Art in Jeopardy, University of Hawai'i Press, 1994. Important collection of articles on the corrosive effect of collecting and trade on Indonesian artistic traditions, much of it with reference to ikat.
  • Visser, Leontine E., Foreign Textiles in Sahu Culture, in Gittinger, To Speak With Cloth, 1989. Alerted the world to the use of Butonese ikat on Halmahera.
  • Völger, Gisela, and Karin van Welck (with supplement by Brigitte Khan Majlis), Indonesian Textiles, Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, 1991. Valuable study with in-depth articles by some thirty contributors, many of them established authorities in the field.
  • Vuuren, Marianne van, Ikat From Tanimbar, Orchid Press, Thailand, 2009. The first monograph on Tanimbar textiles, likely to remain a classic.
  • Warming, Wanda and Michael Gaworski , The world of Indonesian textiles, Kodansha International, 1981.
  • Wassing-Visser, Rita, Weefsels en Adatkostuums uit Indonesië, Volkenkundig Museum Nusantara, Leiden, undated, probably 1980s.
  • Wellfelt, Emilie, Identity and Diversity, Unpublished MA-thesis Göteborg University, 2007. Unique information on ikat on Ternate.
  • Wellfelt, Emilie, The Secrets of Alorese 'Silk' Yarn: Kolon susu, triangle trade and underwater women in Eastern Indonesia. Unpublished. Presented at Textile Society of America, 14th Symposium, 2014. Unique information on use of milkweed fibre on cotton-islands.
  • Wronska-Friend, Maria, Balinese Textiles for Gods and People Central Museum for Textiles in Lodz, 2015.Catalogue of exhibition of the Krzysztof Musial collection.
  • Wright, Astri, 'Ikat' as Metaphor for 'Iban': Women's Creative, Ritual and Social Powers in Borneo, in Penny Van Esterik and Lynne Milgram, Eds., The Transformative Power of Cloth in Southeast Asia, Canadian Council for Southeast Asia Studies/The Museum for Textiles, 1994.
  • Yeager, Ruth, and Mark Jacobsen, Textiles of Western Timor, Regional Variations in Historical Perspective, White Lotus Press, Bangkok, 2002. First monograph on the subject, based on first hand knowledge, highly detailed, richly illustrated.
  • Yoshimoto, Shinobu, Indonesia Shenshoku Taikei (Systematic Study of Indonesian Textiles, in depth study in 2 vols. of Indonesian textiles with large, very well photographed and excellently reproduced image of top quality pieces. Very rare. Shikosha Publishing, 1978.
  • Yoshimoto, Shinobu, Ikat. Kyoto Shoin, 1996.
  • Yoshimoto, Shinobu, Ikatto: kasuri ni miru Indoneshia no iro to katachi, National Museum of Art, 1998. Catalog by one of the world's foremost experts of an exhibition of ikat and other textiles at the National Museum of Art in Osaka and six other Japanese museums in 1996-1998.
  • Zerner, Charles, Silk from Southern Sulawesi. Orientations, Vol. 13, Nr. 2, 1982.
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Ethonology, anthropology, history, and ancillary literature

Below are a few titles that are not textile specific, but do provide valuable ethnological, anthropological and/or historical insights that help understand the cultures in which ikat textiles play an important role.
Ata Kiwan, cover
  • Adams, Kathleen M., Staging Death in Contemporary Tana Toraja (Indonesia). Loyola University Chicago, Faculty Publication, 1993.
  • Arndt SVD, Paul, Gesellschaftliche Verhaltnisse der Ngadha, Studia Instituti Anthropos Vol. 8. , Verlag der Missionsdruckerei St. Gabriel, 1954. Reissued by Johnson Reprint Corporation in the same year. The first study of Ngadha society. The ethnologist missionary Arndt has in recent years been criticized for allegedly misinterpreting some manifestations of Ngadha beliefs and customs, but most authors acknowledge him as a groundbreaking force.
  • Baldick, Julian, Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World: From Australasia to Taiwan. I.B. Tauris, 2013. Interesting chapters on headhunting and other aspects of Indonesian culture that influenced ikat motifs.
  • Barnes, Robert Harrison, Educated Fishermen, social consequences of development in an Indonesian whaling community, published in Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, Tome 75, 1986. probably the best report on the Lembata whaling community, of Lamalera, source of magnificant ikat, by a man who spent nine months there.
  • Bisht, Narendra S., and T. S. Bankoti, Encyclopaedia of the South East Asian Ethnography, Global Vision Publishing House, 2004. Accused by several authors of being full of plagiarism, but with good section on Lamaholot people and several other lemmata related to our subject.
  • Boeke, J.H., Ontwikkelingsgang en toekomst van bevolkings- en ondernemings-landbouw in Nederlands-Indië, E.J. Brill, 1948. Excellent treatise on the (largely failed) forced cultivation of indigo and cotton in the Dutch East Indies.
  • Boomgaard, P., A World of Water: Rain, Rivers and Seas in Southeast Asian Histories, KITLV Press, 2007. Provides some rare information on tiny islands like Luang.
  • Budhi, Setia, Bugis Pagatan: Migration, Adaptation and Identity, IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, Vol. 20, Issue 5, Ver. 1, 2015.
  • Drabbe, Petrus, Het leven van den Tanémbarees. Ethnografische studie over het Tanémbareesche volk, Brill, 1940. A missionary's early, much quoted study on Tanimbar, with focus on linguistics but fanning out to cover customs and material culture - much of which he deprecated. Very hard to find, hence expensive, but rich in factual detail.
  • Dubois, Cora, The People of Alor, A Social-Psychological Study of an East Indian Island. Revised edition Harper &, New York, 1961. Courageous and tenacious Dubois gives vivid descriptions of minute details of the people's lives - according to critics the only things she could grasp.
  • Goodman, Tom, The Rajas of Papua and East Seram during the Early Modern Period (17th - 18th C.), A Bibliographic Essay, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002. Lists and describes sources on the role of Seramese ikat in the kain timur system.
  • Forth, Gregory, Beneath The Volcano: Religion, Cosmology And Spirit Classification Among The Nage Of Eastern Indonesia, KITLV Press, 1998. Focuses on the Nage's spirit world, 'peopled' by various classes of spiritual beings and how to relate to them.
  • Forth, Gregory, Considerations of 'Keo' as an ethnographic category, published in Oceania, Vol. 64, No. 4, 1994. An attempt to make sense of the naming Keo as a distinct unity on Flores, while providing background information of Keo customs - a subject on which little information is available elsewhere.
  • Fox, James J., Flow of Life: Essays on Eastern Indonesia, Harvard University Press, 1990.
  • Fox, James J., Harvest of the Palm, Ecological Change in Eastern Indonesia. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1977. Famous study of the culture of Roti and Savu, based on extensive use of the lontar palm. Very thorough, and eminently readable.
  • Fox, James J., ed., The Flow of Life: Essays on Eastern Indonesia. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1980. An important source of knowledge on the anthropology of the area.
  • Forshee, Jill, ed., Culture and Customs of Indonesia. Greenwood Publishing, 2006. A rich and very readable source of information on the cultural environment in which ikat is practiced.
  • Frazer, Sir J. G., The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. Canongate Books, 2010. Reprint of the classic comparative study of mythology and religion, originally published in 1890.
  • Gorkom, Dr. K.W., Oost Indische Cultures. Volume III, 2nd printing, De Bussy, 1919.
  • Graven, Heather D., Impact of fossil fuel emissions on atmospheric radiocarbon and various applications of radiocarbon over this century. PNAS, 2015, Vol. 112, No. 31. Important paper showing how the burning of fossil fuels lowers the C14 component in the atmosphere's C12/C14 mixture, so that carbon dated pieces tend to look older than they really are. Download PDF.
  • Gomang, Shyariffuddin R., The people of Alor and their alliances in Eastern Indonesia. University of Wollongong, 1993. Unpublished doctoral thesis by Alorese author. Rare image of Alorese watola sarong. The author's statements are not free of religious prejudice, such as his sweeping "The Alorese are adherents of Islam", but his description of Alorese customs is very rich in detail.
  • Hägerdal, Lords of The Land, Lords of The Sea - Conflict and adaptation in early colonial Timor, 1600-1800, Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituur voor Taal- en Volkenkunde, KITLV Press, 2012. Hardly any mention of ikat, but a great source of historical information on Timor, the Solar-Alor Archipelago, Savu, Roti, and eastern Flores in early colonial times.
  • Hose, Charles, and William McDougall, The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, A Description of Their Physical Moral and Intellectual Condition With Some Discussion of their Ethnic Relations. Macmillan & Co., 1912. Various reprints. Available as etext on URL.
  • Hoskins, Janet, The Play of Time: Kodi Perspectives on Calendars, History, and Exchange. A short history of Sumba, with the accent on Kodi. University of California Press, 1997.
  • Hoskins, Janet, Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia. Stanford University Press, 1996. Insightful short article on a vital theme that inspired much of ikat textiles' iconography. Online at URL.
  • Jong, Willemijn de, Geschlechtersymmetrie in einer Brautpreisgesellschaft. Die Stoffproduzentinnen der Lio in Indonesien. A study showing how the Lio men's field labour is balanced by the weaving of the women. Reimer Verlag, 1998.
  • Kate, Dr. Herman F.C. ten , Verslag eener reis in de Timorgroep en Polynesië. Report by early Dutch ethnologist/ethnographer about a journey through Flores, Adonara, Solor, Savu, Roti, Timor and Sumba. Brill, 1894. Ten Kate meticulously records every comb, parang sheath, plinth ornament, ancestor statue or skull that he collected, either by purchase or theft; but curiously, pays no attention at all to the people's clothing, just mentioning that in the Lio district of Flores (home of marvelous ikat) "the women wear sarongs". Still the book is highly interesting for anyone who wants to know how people in these ikat producing islands lived, and how they were affected by colonizers and missionaries.
  • King, Victor T., The Mualang of Indonesian Borneo research notes. Borneo Research Bulletin, Vol. 10 No. 2, September 1978. Made available online by Borneo Heritage. URL: http://www.borneoheritage.org/2014/11/the-mualang-of-indonesian-borneo.html?m=1
  • Lim, Poh Chiang, Among the Dayaks, Graham Brash, 1989. Pictorial account of life as it once was in the jungles of Sarawak. Now, as both the jungle and it's indigenous peoples are fast disappearing, these stunning black and white photographs taken in the 1950s and '60s reveal with great poignancy a way of life that is all but gone.
  • Masashi, Hirosue, The Role of Local Informants in the Making of the Image of "Cannibalism" in North Sumatra in Bonatz, Dominik and John Miksic, J. David Neidel, ed., From Distant Tales: Archaeology and Ethnohistory in the Highlands of Sumatra, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009, pp. 169-194. First published in The Memoirs of the Toyo Bunko, 63/42, Rikkyo University, 2005.
  • McKinnon, Susan, From a Shattered Sun: Hierarchy, Gender, and Alliance in the Tanimbar Islands, University of Wisconsin Press, 1991. A study on hierarchy and equality in societies with differing marriage systems. Touches on ikat only lightly, but provides a richly painted ethnological backdrop.
  • Miedema, Jelle, c.s., ed., Perspectives on the Bird's Head of Irian Jaya, Indonesia: Proceedings of the Conference, Leiden, 13-17 October 1997, Rodopi, 1998. Provides rare information on the 'kain timur system', i.e. the barter of forest products and slaves for ikat between Papua New Guinea, Seram and other northeasterly islands. Valued at book sellers because of its writing, as detailed and vivid as a Golden Age genre painting. Details the interactions between the countless mobile groups trading in and lording it over the islands, and fighting over the gateways to New Guinea.
  • Morrell, Elizabeth, Securing a Place: Small-scale Artisans in Modern Indonesia, SEAP Publications, 2004. Narrower of scope than the title suggests, this works focuses on the struggle of artisans, including ikat weavers such as the Bugis, to survive in a modernizing Sulawesi environment.
  • Pannell, Sandra, Travelling to Other Worlds: Narratives of Headhunting, Appropriation and the Other in the 'Eastern Archipelago', Oceania, Vol. 62, No. 3, 1992.
  • Pannell, Sandra, Of Gods and Monsters, in Boomgaard, 2007.
  • Perry, William James, The megalithic culture of Indonesia, Manchester, University Press, 1918.
  • Rappoport, Dana, Musical idioms and linguistics in Eastern Indonesia (Lamaholot linkage), Centre Asie du Sud-Est, CNRS, 2009. Short piece on musical traditions of Lamaholot people, which also gives a summary of their culture and customs. URL
  • Rappoport, Dana, L’énigme des duos alternés à Flores et Solor (Lamaholot, Indonésie), Archipel 79, 2010. While focused on musicology provides valuable anthropological information on the Lamaholot.
  • Reuter, Thomas, ed., Sharing the Earth, Dividing the Land: Land and Territory in the Austronesian World, ANU E Press, 2006.
  • Revel, Nicole, Songs of Memory in Islands of Southeast Asia. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. Provides insights in the degree to which South Moluccan islands are culturally interwoven with each other and with Lautem in Timor-Leste.
  • Rodemeier, Susanne, Tutu kadire in Pandai–Munaseli, Erzählen und Erinnern auf der vergessenen Insel Pantar. A look at the culture of Pantar and the archipelago in which it is embedded through its mythology. Passauer Beiträge zur Südostasienkunde Bd. 12, Lit Verlag, 2006. Also available online for members of academia.edu: URL
  • Schefold, Reimar, Stylistic canon, imitation, faking: The case of Siberut (Mentawai, Western Indonesia), Unpublished paper prepared for the Third Euroseas Conference, London 2001.
  • St. John, Spencer, Wild Tribes of the North-West Coast of Borneo. Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London, Vol. 2, pp. 232-243, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1863. No mention of ikat, just of 'cloths', particularly with reference to funerary practices.
  • Tule, Philippus, We Are Children of the Land: A Keo Perspective, published in Sharing the Earth, Dividing the Land: Land and Territory in the Austronesian World, Australian National University E Press, 2006. Interesting information on the Keo's view of their natural environment, their rights to its use (as opposed to outsiders'), and how this impacts their societal structure and culture.
  • Vatter, Ernst, Ata Kiwan, Unbekantte Bergvölker im Tropischen Holland, Bibliographisches Institut AG, Leipzig, 1932. A classic (and rare) study of the people of Eastern Nusa Tenggara, with a section of ikat. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.
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Online resources

In most cases these publications were originally published in print, then digitized and made available online. Where available the original publication data are given, so that a print copy may be retrieved in case a link has gone dead. Please report any dead links through our Contact page.
    Asian Textiles Magazine
  • Anonymous, The Art of Futus, From Dark to Light. Brief but excellent introduction to East Timorese ikat (futus), Unesco supported publication. URL
  • ArtsCraft Indonesia, Motif Tenun Ikat Toraja. Invaluable page on Toraja iconography. URL used to be http://artscraftindonesia.com/ind/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=119, but last time we checked it gave a 'bad host' response.>
  • Asian Textile Art, Tradecloths. Website of Hong Kong dealer with interesting article on Indian Trade Cloths that places the history of patola in the wider context of Indian tradecloths in general. URL
  • Barnes, Robert Harrison, A temple, a mission, and a war, Jesuit missionaries and local culture in East Flores in the nineteenth century. Originally published in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde Vol. 165, no. 1 (2009), pp. 32-61. URL
  • Barnes, Robert Harrison, Educated Fishermen, social consequences of development in an Indonesian whaling community, published in Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, Tome 75, 1986. Probably the best report on the Lembata whaling community, of Lamalera, source of magnificant ikat; by a man who spent nine months there. URL
  • Barnes, Ruth, Thirty-five Years of Textile Studies in Eastern Indonesia. Article in Newsletter No. 28, June 2004, of the Oxford Asian Textile Group. Reminiscences about her first and later visits to Lembata. URL
  • Johnston, Graham, Radio Carbon Dating. Excellent article on the reasons not to place too much trust in carbon dating of textiles younger than five centuries. URL
  • Adams, Monni, Classic and Eccentric Elements in East Sumba Textiles. The author is a research associate of the Textile Museum in Washington. URL
  • Breguet, George, The Life and Death of Tamu Rambu Yuliana, Princess of Sumba. In-depth and close-up article on life and death of the princess of Rindi, and the role of ikat textiles on Sumba. First published in Arts & Cultures, Barbier-Mueller Museum, 2006. Kindly made available by the author. URL
  • Buckley, Christopher D., Investigating Cultural Evolution Using Phylogenetic Analysis: The Origins and Descent of the Southeast Asian Tradition of Warp Ikat Weaving. Published in PlosOne December 2012, Vol. 7, Issue 12. A thorough investigation of the evolution of ikat styles in the region, based on an analysis of motifs and building blocks of motifs. URL
  • Coleman, H., Patterns of Culture: The Textiles of Bali and Nusa Tenggara. Published in Ars Textrina (University of Leeds), no. 38, 2008. Gives a good description of the ikat weaving technique, background information on the textiles of the region, and on recent developments impacting production.URL
  • Druding, Susan C., Dye History from 2600 BC to the 20th Century. URL
  • Duggan, Geneviève, The Genealogical Model of Savu, a dissertation that sheds light on the Savunese societal structures, such as the matrilineal clans and subclans, and the patrilineal groupings that inform its textiles. National University of Singapore, 2008. URL
  • Duggan, Geneviève, Personal website. A treasure trove of information on Savu ikat and Savunese culture in general URL
  • Engelenhoven, Aone van, Epithets and Epitomes, Management and Loss of Narrative Knowledge in South West Maluku, published in Paideusis, Journal for Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Studies: Volume 1/1998. A fascinating article on oral traditions in the region, which includes Lakor, Babar and other ikat producing islands, and how artifacts, such as ikat textiles, served as mnemonic devices, supporting collective memory of traditional narrative. URL
  • Eng, Pierre van der, De-industrialisation and colonial rule: The cotton textile industry in Indonesia, 1820-1941.Working Paper No. 2007/04, Division of Economics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, 2017. URL
  • Fitzgerald, Catherine C., Re-weaving The Past: Reviving Textile Traditions In Women's Cooperatives. MA thesis with section on Iban Dayak ikat weaving and attempts at its revival. URL used to be https://portfolio.du.edu/pc/port.detail?id=162668 but last time we checked it gave a 404 error.
  • Forth, Gregory Forth, Public affairs: Institutionalized nonmarital sex in an eastern Indonesian society, published in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160, no: 2/3, 2004.
  • Gavin, Traude, Naming and Meaning: Ritual Textiles of the Ihan of Sarawak. Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings, Paper 860, 1996. URL
  • Gavin, Traude, Brief comments on [..] Women's War: An Update of the Literature on Iban Textiles. Traude Gavin's acidic rejoinder to Heppell (see below). URL
  • Hägerdal, Hans, Cannibals and Pedlars, Economic opportunities and political alliance in Alor, 1600-1850, an attempt to write a history of the Alor group of islands. URL
  • Hawkesworth, John, Account of the Voyages [..] in the Southern Hemisphere, first published by William Strahan and Thomas Cadell, 1773. Based on the journals of Captain Cook and several other commanders, as well as on those of naturalist Joseph Banks. The chapter on Savu, online version. URL
  • Heppell, Michael, Women's war: an update of the literature on Iban textiles. A polemical piece on the symbolic and cultural meaning of Iban pua kumbu. While approving some of Traude Gavin's work (see above), Heppell is critical of her alleged misunderstanding of the symbolic and cultural meaning of these cloths. URL
  • Heppell, Michael, Rejoinder on my late Iban-co author. Answer to Traude Gavin's rejection of Heppell's criticism, defending his stance and his sources. URL
  • Jong, Dr. Chris de, A Footnote to the Colonial History of the Dutch East Indies, The 'Little East' in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century. Historical and cultural notes on the Southeastern and Southwestern islands. URL used to be http://www.cfgdejong.nl, but last time we checked it gave a 'bad host' response.>
  • Jonge, Nico de, The Religious Art of the Southeast Moluccas. Provides the cultural context of a number of masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leyden. URL
  • Kedit, Vernon, Pua Kumbu: Sacred Blankets of the Saribas Iban. Written by an Iban, great-grandson of an Iban masterweaver, providing information on his family's collection of Iban pua kumbu (illustrated) and critiquing Traude Gavin's interpretations of Iban design. URL
  • Kedit, Vernon, Restoring Panggau Libau: a reassessment of engkaramba' in Saribas Iban ritual textiles (pua' kumbu'). Debunks Traude Gavin's tenet that anthropomorphic figures, engkaramba, in Iban textiles are of tertiary importantance, and explains that, to the contrary, human figures are so important as to be protected by names that make them seem insignificant. Originally published in Borneo Research Bulletin, Vol. 40, 2009. URL
  • Knirck-Bumke, Krista, Stripes and Patterns, The Significance of Locality and Social Relationship in Textile Designs in Eastern Indonesia. URL
  • Murray, Thomas, Red Tapis, an early textile tradition of Lampung Sumatra Indonesia, Hali issue 171. URL (Membership required.)
  • Nabholz-Kartaschoff, Marie-Louise, The Textiles of Sembiran, Göttinger Beiträge zur Ethnologie, Band 1, Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2008. Has a small section on very rare old Lombok ikat textiles called anak nene, passed off as Bali Aga cloths by dealers. Interesting for lovers of ikat because very little information on authentic and visually attractive Lombok ikat can be found elsewhere. URL
  • Niner, Sara, Strong Cloth: East Timor’s Tais. Published on site of Craft Culture. URL
  • Oxford Asian Textile Group. Founded in 1995 by Ruth Barnes with the aim to make the Oxford textile collections more accessible to the public. The Group used to publish a newsletter, and now publishes a magazine. Many issues have dealt with Indonesian textiles, including ikat. All back issues are available online to members, who pay a small fee to support the organization. URL
  • Somba, Nethy Dharma, Ikat fabric, family self-esteem. Jakarta Post, The Archipelago, 5 May 2012. URL
  • Thomas, Nicholas, We need ethnographic museums today – whatever you think of their history, Apollo Magazine, 2016. URL
  • Vuldy, Chantal Vuldy, Un colloque sur les textiles en Indonésie, Summary of colloquium on the state of collections in European museums held in Cologne, 27-30 September 1985. Vuldy notes with a certain degree of alarm how few museums have properly documented their collections of Indonesian textiles. Originally published in Archipel. Volume 33, 1987. URL
  • VIDEOS. Weavers' Stories made for the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Very beautiful films about the making of ikat textiles and the people that make them.

Tribal Textiles forum Special mention must be made of the Tribal Textiles Info website, founded by Pamela Cross to serve as a clearinghouse of information. The bibliography and the online forum, an invaluable resource for collectors, curators, and dealers, are particularly recommended.

For further reading suggestions we recommend the library search engine at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel.




©Peter ten Hoopen, 2017. All rights reserved.