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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Location: Portugal
Dear all,
I would like to share with you a recent acquisition that is very unusual: a Savunese shawl with asymmetric colouring. Usually when these cloths are asymmetrical (required by adat) the asymmetry is achieved by one panel being wider than the other, here the asymmetry was created by varying the color. There are 13 ikated bands, 7 wider bands separated by six narrower ones, two of which, numbers 2 and 4, were done in a much darker indigo. Very odd, but very pretty in my eyes. I have never seen anything like this before, neither in the flesh so to speak, nor in literature. Also odd, is that it is all one panel. The yarn is benang belanda. The piece comes from an old Dutch collection and my feeling says that it probably dates from the 1930s or '40s. It has clearly been used and is somewhat thin in places, but the overall condition is near-impeccable, without tears or holes, and only and two small, very faint stains.

I do not think that the cloth is in any sense of the way 'important', but its very idiosyncracy sets it apart and makes it intriguing. One would think that such obious, even striking deviation from the norm could only be done by a mature weaver, very sure of her position in society. The quality of the ikat work undergirds such an assumption. The execution of the main motifs, an unusually elaborate boda (of a type which, according to an earlier comment on one of my cloths from Savu by Geneviève Duggan, is in Seba and Mesara), is tight and impeccable, and the detailing is very fine - finer than is commonly seen on Savu cloth. What seem sort of pink stripes are in fact collections of pin stripes of plain russet toko yarn alternating with very narrow bundles of white on blue ikat, some just three threads wide.

I would very much like to know if anyone has ever seen anything like this, and if so, if there is any information regarding this type of cloth. (Geneviève, are you listening?)

Best wishes,
Peter


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Peter ten Hoopen
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PUSAKA COLLECTION: ONLINE MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Peter,

This is, indeed, an interesting cloth. I don't have the expertise on Savu textiles to comment 'with knowledge' only what I see directly with my eyes. I find it fascinating that the threads which have been dyed to a very dark indigo have been clearly tied/wrapped as a different set from the threads for the similar width pattern in the lighter indigo. One might have thought that they would have been tied side-by-side so that the resulting pattern was almost exactly the same - but clearly they were not! A different set of warps; a different time of being tied? In a way the usual frustration of wanting to know the why and wishing to be able to communicate with the weaver!

Overall a beautiful cloth!

Many thanks for sharing and I hope that someone may be able to comment with in depth knowledge.

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:18 pm
Posts: 110
Location: Portugal
Dear all,

I have approached Geneviève Duggan through a personal channel to learn more about this cloth, and she has graciously allowed me to post her response:

"This selimut has 7 large bands (huri) of motifs boda and 6 narrower bands, also with boda motifs. The large bands give the generic name to the piece: hi’i wo hèpi, huri wo pidu.
Description / explanation:

1. It is of the category wo hèpi because the ikated bands are of 2 colours only.
2. It has 7 bands of main motifs, thus it is a hi’i huri wo pidu.
3. All motifs are boda motifs (which is often found in Seba).
4. The dini are of 7 stripes. Correct? [Indeed, PtH]
5. Because of 3. and 4. I identify the selimut as being from Seba.

Now the different shades of indigo. In my opinion the two smaller bands of darker indigo were added because the weaver was short of narrow ikated bands. Without adding the two narrow bands, the piece would have had 6 huri, which is impossible for a man’s cloth; Men wear an uneven number of bands of motifs on their selimut. (Sometimes there are exceptions for sacred cloths, but this is not the case here). Something happened during the production of this cloth; ikated threads were damaged and could not be used for making a selimut. Note that the 2 darker ikated bands are not of good ikat quality either. Threads became loose during the ikat process.

This cloth might tell us about a little drama. The weaver wanted to rescue as much as possible form the work she had started. Note that between the moment threads are ikated, then dyed, then mounted on the loom, a year may have passed. A lot can happen in a household during that time, also dramatic events that could have damaged the weaver’s work. Everything related to weaving and loom was very much respected by everyone. [..] These are perhaps not the explanations you expected, but anyway, a little story or even a drama is certainly linked to this cloth."

Hope this is of interested to y'all,
Peter

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Peter ten Hoopen
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PUSAKA COLLECTION: ONLINE MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Very many thanks, Peter, for sharing this detailed information on the textile and also the fascinating insight into a possible drama in the production of the cloth! Very many thanks to Geneviève Duggan for permitting you to share her insight with us on the forum. This is so very much appreciated.

The thought of the very human 'drama' involved in the making of it very much catches my attention! It certainly gives an added reality to it whilst being, at the same time, a tease since we can never know the true story behind it!

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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