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 Post subject: Ikat from Timor?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:25 pm
Posts: 12
Location: NYC
I bought this a couple of years ago, and, to me, it looks very much like a piece from Timor. However, in none of the literature that I have studied have I come across Timorese textiles with monkeys and birds.
Would anyone know?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:17 am 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 248
Location: Japan
Florian, Yes, I would say it is from Timor. Bird motifs are common in Timorese textiles and I have a couple of pieces with monkeys, sarongs if I remember. I don't think mine have tails though.

The monkeys were used together with ancestor figures in a frontal view and were more ridgid and less realistic than yours. If my memory is correct the Timorese called them KRAWA and I was told that they could be distinguished from the ancestor figures by the fact that they had two eyes while the ancestor figures were cycloptic.

I don't know if this is always true as I think I have seen ancestor figures with two eyes but they usually have head decorations and pronounced genitalia which distinguish them from KRAWA.

As with the Iban, birds are important to the Timorese and serve as messengers between this world and the world of the ancestors. They are often found on Timorese textiles.

Your textile is two panels sewn together and seems to be drop spindle thread. What size is the cloth? I think it is a man's BETI, hip/shoulder cloth, and if the two panels are 4 feet or so wide it is probably an all ikat cloth without border stripes.

The pale red colors and background full of dots, S curves and crosses are also typical of Timor. The light blue required an extra binding and the nicely twisted fringes show the care and effort that went into the production of the cloth. A lovely textile with very realistic monkeys eating in the trees.

Best regards, MAC


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