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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:57 am 
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This very old textile breaks the general rule of warp ikat in cotton and weft ikat in silk. I tend to think it was made in the first half of the 19th C. and was a treasured and highly valued ceremonial cloth which was rarely used. Even so, it is very frail with age and shows much wear. The silver and gold foil wrap on the supplementary weft threads is all but worn away on the front.

The warp ikat patterns were dyed in rectangles of black and brown and undyed white and the threads were pulled out of line to form the arrowhead patterns when they were placed on the loom. Woven designs in discontinuous supp. silver thread adorn the center field and cont. supp. weft patterns form the side borders. Gold supp. thread is used in the horizontal row of diamond motifs on each end of the cloth.

I collected the cloth in Sumatra in 1980 and was told that it was from the Mandailing Batak. Perhaps Sandra could shed some light on this mystery textile. Normally the Batak didn't use silk and in Aceh where silk textiles were common I don't believe they used the ikat dyeing technique.

Does anyone else have any textiles like this or any ideas about its age, origin or use? Any feedback would be appreciated. Best regards, MAC


Attachments:
File comment: size 190x87 cen.
_c1i0076_pulled_arrow_ikat_.jpg
_c1i0076_pulled_arrow_ikat_.jpg [ 105.17 KiB | Viewed 6661 times ]
_c1i0078_pulled_arrow_ikat_.jpg
_c1i0078_pulled_arrow_ikat_.jpg [ 71.54 KiB | Viewed 6661 times ]


Last edited by MAC on Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Warp Ikat In Silk
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:12 am 
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Sorry! In trying to reduce the KB size of my photos I seem to have accidentally changed the width of my posts! Can anyone tell me where to click in the edit size menu to get these files back under control? Windows XP in Japanese! What to do? :( Sorry, MAC


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:31 am 
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Hi MAC

Yes, I hope that Sandra will comment on what to me is a lovely textile. I am only a 'student' of Batak textiles but I would say that it certainly is Batak.

I don't know if it is Mandailing Batak - over to Sandra! However, have a look at this thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ight=batak which seem to have a 'family' relationship to yours. In this case the textiles are Toba Batak from the Silindung valley (only just to the north of the Mandailing, of course).

The book you need for Batak textiles is Sandra's wonderful book 'Legacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia' http://www.bataktextiles.com/projects/Legacy.html Fancy giving Sandra's greatest fan the chance to promote her book!!!!

Re image sizes. I quickly went in and reduced the width of your images. Possibly you hadn't saved the reduced width images before making another change and they reverted in size. What software are you using to edit the images? Anyway, don't worry about it but thanks for trying!

Best

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: Batak or Acehnese?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:03 am 
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Dear MAC, Pamela and all,

First of all, a wonderful, textile-filled New Year to you and all of YOUR many fans on this website!

And then a thank you to MAC for posting this beautiful old textile. (I only get my signals about new posts at midnight, so that is why I am slow about posting a response. :wink: )

I suspect that the textile that MAC has shown us is Acehnese.

I am not surprised that one may think that it is Batak. The design of the cloth is a tremendous lesson in the Batak skill in copying Acehnese cloth. Silk textiles from Aceh were coveted by the Batak and always a sign of high status when worn. Toba weavers didn't take that lying down -- but rather sitting at their loom -- and imitated many of them, so that they are now entrenched in the Batak repertory. I would still like to take notes someday to compare how the ikat is made. In my book, that Pamela has already plugged, Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia, on page 450 I write that

"Jasper and Pirngadie's (1912:173-5) description of the Batak way of making the chevron (ikat) motif appears to have been taken from Loeber." And Loeber described the pulling of the warp yarns so that the arrowhead pattern resulted, just as MAC has described. (MAC, can you SEE that this was the way it was done? How do you know???) I wish the images were a bit more zoomed in so that I could see the structure of the ikat a little bit better.

However, I think that Loeber based his description of the "Batak way of making the chevron" on the Acehnese way of making it, while, in fact, the Batak do it differently. This is a question that still lingers for me and I wish I could get this issue resolved once and for all. Field research needed.

Batak and Acehnese: Same textile design, different material, different loom, different way of making the ikat, different details in the supplementary weft. However, the similarity in the patterning must have been very satisfying for the makers of the cloth, and its wearers who couldn't afford the real silk variants.

And this is one way that the Batak "grew" their repertory!

And now we have to talk about whether the original inspiration for the cloth came from India....


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 Post subject: Chevron Ikat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:07 pm 
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Sandra, Thanks for your reply. :) I haven't seen many textiles from Aceh but the few I have seen were all supp. woven designs. Have you seen ikat dyed patterns on Acehnese cloth? If so were the textiles silk or cotton? Was the ikat warp or weft?

I have some other Batak textiles with chevron patterns but if I remember they have much clearer and more precise and very regular patterns. If the chevrons were not pulled when the warp was placed on the loom then they must have been ikated as chevrons? As ikat bindings are applied to bundles of threads the motifs appear in stepped blocks. This characteristic of ikat makes smooth curves and, I would think, the sharp points of arrowheads a challenge to ikat. It seems to me that it would be easier to ikat a block and pull it into a sharp arrowhead.

Speaking of India, I have a very old patolu that was said to be from the queen of Adonara. It has a chevron design in the main field, the only patolu I have ever seen with this design. I haven't had it out to look at for a while but seem to remember thinking that although it had a pulled arrow pattern, it seemed to have been ikated as an arrowhead and not pulled. I would think that pulling threads to produce a pattern in a double ikat would be quite a feat. I must get it out and have another look!

Getting back to the textile I posted, the motifs seem rather haphazard and look to me as if they were pulled to achieve the arrowhead pattern. Do they pull threads to produce chevron patterns in Indian textiles? The only Indian textiles I have are two dozen patola and I don't know much about other Indian textiles.

I don't have your book but would like to get a copy. You said the way the Batak and the Acehnese produce the chevron pattern was different. If the Acehnese pull it how do the Batak produce it, by ikating it? I am a little confused on this point. Would there be some other way to produce it?

Do any other members have any Acehnese ikat textiles or Batak textiles with chevron patterns? I think my other Batak textiles with pulled arrow patterns all follow the rule of warp ikat in cotton. I have a couple of Batak textiles with silk used as a supp. weft thread to produce woven patterns on a cotton cloth but the one I posted is the only all silk piece with warp ikat that I have. The mystery continues! Oh yes, do you have any ideas on the age? What is the oldest Batak textile that you know of?
Best Regards, MAC


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 Post subject: chevron ikat
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:43 am 
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Dear MAC and all,

You ask many interesting questions, MAC. As Vernon would say, "Keep them coming!" Unlike Vernon, I can't answer them all as I am venturing onto unfamiliar terrein, but will take a stab at a few.

Yes, I have seen Acehnese ikat-patterned cloths in museums. The one in your collection is the one that I have found to be most prevalent. I also found another "forerunner" of a Batak ikat-patterned cloth in the possession of a Karo sibayak (chief).

They are silk -- or part silk. Acehnese looms are backstrap, but in a frame, and they have a comb to space the warp yarns. Perhaps some other forum members can say something about how the Acehnese weavers used silk and cotton in warp and weft.

I have seen Batak chevron patterns in "blocks" as you put it, indicating that the ikat chevron pattern was made at the tying phase. And this is what I have seen in the field. In some cloths, this is less clear, however, and I don't know if some weavers (in some regions or at some time) "pulled" the ikat-tied yarns into a chevron shape. I can't see how they would do this, given how they stabilize the yarn that is to be ikat-dyed, so that it will not shift when placed in the loom. This would make that "pulling" very awkward.

I don't know the Indian techniques for making chevron ikat, e.g. in Orissa, but I would not be surprised if this could throw light on the distribution of chevron-production in the Indonesian archipelago. Are there forum-members familiar with Indian techniques? I must say that this is another of my burning questions. We have tended to focus on design and less on technique, while that latter can offer huge insights into culture contact and textile distribution.

It is hard to make pronouncements on the age of Batak textiles. The great Dutch linguist, H.N. van der Tuuk, made a collection in 1852 and it is now stored in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. It has endured the passage of time quite well. Anderson plied the coast of Sumatra some 25 years earlier in the same century and made a collection, presumably took it home to ENgland, but I have never heard of it or found it (another burning question). This would be the earliest collection that I know of. Assuming that some of Van der Tuuk's textiles were already 50 years old, or so, when he collected them, that means that there are textiles in public collections that could date to around the end of the 18th century and perhaps a little earlier. How long the Batak can and have stored their best cloths in their homes is a question that I can't answer.

Cheers,
Sandra


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 Post subject: Chevron ikat patterns
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:20 pm 
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Sandra, Thanks for your informative and interesting reply. How I envy your access to old books and museum collections! And now more of my endless questions. How many textiles comprise the Van Der Tuuk collection? Were they similar to or different from Batak textiles produced in the 20th C.? Are any of them in your book, some other book or perhaps on line? Is there any way we could get to see them? What a joy that would be! Speaking of your book, how can I get a copy of it?

Pamela refers, see above, to a discourse between you and Susan concerning a Batak textile she posted . It has supp. weft woven patterns and a chevron ikat dyed pattern. The chevron ikat patterns only appear in a number of narrow bands while the remainder of the other warps are plain and carry no patterns. The color of the ikat bands is different from that of the plain warps. The arrowheads also point in alternately opposite directions.

This indicates that the chevron patterns were ikated and dyed separately from the other warps. As the number of threads in each band is small, and there are only a few of these bands across the width of the textile, I would guess that they were all ikated and dyed in one bundle. Some type of lease cord probable separated the layers that would make up each band. Assuming that a continuous thread had been wound onto the tieing frame, it would have to be cut to separate the layers that would make up the various bands so they could be warped separately and in opposite directions.

I think that when the dyeing was completed and the threads removed from the tieing frame and separated and cut into their respective bands that they were wound into balls until they were placed on the loom. What I am trying to say or show is that the threads were no longer stabilized to prevent them from shifting but were in the form of balls that could be placed in a half coconut bowl and passed round and round the warping frame. Does this make sence and would it not be easy at this time to pull the threads to produce an arrowhead?

The chevron patterns in Susan's cloth do not look stepped at all to me and seem to flow smoothly into a very drawn out narrow arrowhead. This seems to indicate to me that they were skillfully pulled rather than ikated as a chevron.

In textiles, say from Timor, in which numerous, narrow bands of warp, ikat patterns alternate with plain stripes, the warping process is quite lengthy, complicated and requires a great deal of concentration. In some cases only 2 or 3 rounds of a particular color of plain thread are wound onto the warping frame and tied before a course of ikat bearing thread is wound on and tied. This is then followed by another 2 or 3 rounds of the plain colored thread and then the ikat thread again and so on and so on in a mind boggling array of plain stripes and narrow ikat bands.

In such cases I don't think the ikat bearing threads are stabilized as they were on the tieing frame but in the form of balls which can be easily and quickly passed around the warping frame in half coconuts. In some cases up to a hundred warp changes are required. In light of this it seems to me that pulling a few strings, so to speak, to form chevrons would not be that awkward or difficult a task. Do you have any photos of Batak chevron patterns that are stepped from being tied and dyed as chevrons? Are there any in your book? I really must get your book!

This is indeed an interesting puzzle and when I have time I will look at the other chevron patterned Batak textiles I have as well as the patolu I mentioned to see if any of them looked stepped. Thanks again for your information and interesting food for thought. Is the chevron ikated or pulled; that is the question. Would love to have input from other members as well and maybe more pics of chevron patterned textiles!

Best Regards, MAC


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:07 pm 
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Dear MAC et al,

Sorry that it has taken me so long to get around to replying.

The Van der Tuuk collection is depicted in the back of his dictionary (Bataksch-Nederduitsch Woordenboek, 1861). The intent of the collection was to illustrate the dictionary. Some of the textiles depicted in my book are from his collection and this is indicated in Part II, the catalogue section. The Tropenmuseum has put alot of its collection on-line. I documented the Batak textiles. You can find some of Van der Tuuk's things there as well.

The textiles from that time are very similar, in many regards, to textiles made today, particularly the shouldercloths, as they are still being worn in ritual contexts. The hipcloths in the VDTuuk collection show more variety than you will find today -- and I'm sure this is because they are worn much less often.

I discuss the issue of design changes through time very extensively in my book. You can always order a copy of my book through me (see my website www.Bataktextiles.com).

I like the way you visualized how the ikat is made. (By the way, Part IV of my book describes Batak weaving techniques and how they relate to design features depicted in textiles in the Catalogue part of the book.)

In fact, the Batak do not wrap their ikat in balls. You are right that in most textiles, not all warp yarns are ikat-patterned. The warp yarns that are to be ikat-patterned are warped up separately, bound off and dyed. When the entire textile is to be warped up, the ikat-decorated warp yarns are added in the right order and a tie is inserted so that that order cannot become disturbed. Both the ikat-patterned warp and the entire warp are anchored at one location in the cycle (a circular, continuous warp), so that pulling on the warp yarns, or turning them around so they are facing the opposite direction, are more-or-less out of the question. I have seen, in E. Indonesia, how the ikat bundle is even woven for a centimeter or two so that the yarns don't shift. This stabilizes it very, very solidly.

The Batak do, indeed, collect similar components of the pattern and tie them all into one bundle for dyeing -- but differently, I think, than what I have understood from your description. It is hard to put it in words without sufficient illustrations, but I shall try. Imagine that a motif consists of 7 different ikat blocks. Imagine that this same motif is found repeated 10 times across the width of the cloth. After the warp that is to be ikat-patterned has been wrapped, then the pattern has to be dyed into it. The Batak practise an ingenious system whereby first all of block 1 in each of the 10 repeats is picked up, then all of block 2, all of block 3 and so on. Each of the block-bundles (for lack of a better term) is tied off according to its position in the motif, and dyed. Then after the yarn is dyed and the ties have been removed, the yarns get re-distributed back into the order in which they were first wrapped, and the 7 bundles fall adjacent to each other again and, together, form the motif. This means that each of the repeated motifs is the same across the cloth. This description is probably as clear as mud -- but it is well-illustrated in my book.

I shall fish around in my illustrations and try to find some clearly-stepped chevrons to show you.

All the best


Attachments:
File comment: chevron ikat with clear "steps" showing the placement of the ikat ties
C_SN_115.jpg
C_SN_115.jpg [ 43.94 KiB | Viewed 6534 times ]

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Sandra Niessen

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http://bataktextiles.blogspot.com/
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:19 pm 
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Hallo Mac, et aliae,

It's rather late in the day (years after the original post), but I would still like to congrutale Mac on this exceptional textile. I have been scouring museums, literature and the net for info about old Acehnese silk ikats, and in the course of my search saw several, mostly in museums. This is one of the two or three finest that I have come across. Wonderfully rich borders. A masterpiece! (And quite well preserved too.)

Interesting thread also. It fascinated me to learn that the chevrons would have been made by pulling on the threads of what were originall rectangles. Rich stuff!

Cheers everbody,
Peter

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Peter ten Hoopen
www.ikat.us

PUSAKA COLLECTION: ONLINE MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES


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