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 Post subject: Ikat
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:50 pm
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Here are a few mediocre pix of a large Ikat (about 8 feet high and 20 inches wide) that a friend showed me in the deluded hope that I know anything about textiles. I don't I'm hoping someone can tell me what to tell my friend about this piece. Provenance, age, quality and perhaps value. Also, a suggestion about what to read would be helpful.
Framed and matted, it's very large and is wedged into a storage room, hence the mediocre pix. Any insights would be appreciated.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:13 am 
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Hi!

The textile you show is from Sumba, Indonesia. It is a hinggi and one of two matching cloths worn by a man - one over this shoulder and the other as a loin cloth. The designs look familiar. It is difficult to say much more from the limited images you show. I have no idea as to value - and we don't usually discuss that on this forum.

Have a look at this thread for photos of more hinggi and some helpful background information: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ight=sumba

You should be able to find some information on textiles from Sumba and hinggi in particular in several books on textiles from south east Asia and especially Indonesia. They are very striking cloths and very photogenic. Also see ''Decorative Arts of Sumba', Pepin Press Amsterdam and Singapore, ISBN 90-5496-050-7. This was the catalogue accompanying the 1999 exhibition at the Museum voor Volkenkunde (Museum of Ethnology) in Rotterdam, 1999.

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:18 am 
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Threads of Life have a section on textiles from Sumba on their very excellent website.

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: Hinggi
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:12 pm 
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Pamela, thanks for providing a name and place. I'm thrilled to have a thread to follow on this hinggi. I'll head to the libraries at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and UC Berkeley's Hearst Museum as a start. Now the question is what someone in an apartment does with a 10' x 3' massively framed hinggi. Keep in the frame or free it?
I'll post better images as soon as I can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:37 pm 
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Keep an eye out for 'Between the Folds: Stories of cloth, lives and travels from Sumba' by Jill Forshee ISBN 0-8248-2346-X, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2001. There are some pretty cheap usededitions on Amazon.com (starting at $5.00 plus postage).

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:10 pm 
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A copy of the Forshee book is now on order, and I have a mini-bibliography of other works to seek out at the Anthro Library at UC Berkeley on Monday. My friend has decided there is no way she wants to house the framed hinggi, and asks if I want to buy it from her. The altnernative, says she, is to hand it over to a consignment shop! I think it might languish for a long time if that happens.
So, I'm trolling through ebay and hoping I can come up with a price fair to my friend and to me. I respect your site's disinterest in pricing, but based on ebay, the range seems to run between $300 and $700.
The wildcard is the piece's age. She thinks that her uncle bought it sometime in the 1970s in Asia, but not in Indonesia.
Good thing that my wife is travelling in the Carolinas, 3000 miles from home, while all this plays out. Imagine her surprise should it be sitting somehwere in our home when she returns.
Thanks again for your help.


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 Post subject: Sumba Hinggi
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:24 am 
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Location: Japan
Hi, 8 feet is about right for the length of a hinggi but they are usually about 4 or 5 feet wide, made of two pieces of cloth sewn together in the center. If this piece is only 20 inches wide you may have only half a hinggi! Is it folded in half lengthwise? The colors and clarity of the ikat as well as the motifs seem to indicate to me that it is not that old, say from the 80s or 90s. The photos are not that clear so it is hard to be sure. Have you had a look at the post Sumba dragons?. Usually older pieces have dark rich colors and pretty clear ikat.
Best regards, MAC


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:20 am 
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Though not much better than the first set of images, here are three more. Since the cloth is under glass, it's hard under even good conditions to get an adequate pic, so this might just be coals to Newcastle.
Thanks for your patient help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:32 am 
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Hi MAC

I had wondered 'one strip or two' but think I might be able to see a seam down the middle of the nose of the man on the bullock in the original photos and now perhaps in IMG_0097A. The design would appear to be a mirror image around these central points.

Gratianus

Have a close look at the lengthwise (down the warp) of the centre of the textile. You should be able to see that there are two pieces very tightly whipped together in a sort of herringbone stitch. When the warp thread bundles were originally bound and dyed they would have been opened out so that 4 strips were woven - two for each final textile, giving mirror images from the centre of each textile where they are sewn together.

Taking a quick measure from a hinggi which I have draped over a sofa, each panel is just over 23" wide (so total width 47") - in line with MAC's width comments above. If you only have one panel then this would significantly reduce the value by, I would think, more than half. It in no way diminishes it as a 'work of cultural art' and I, myself, would not be put off it if the piece 'spoke to me' but be aware of the much lower level of 'fair price' for you and your friend. There is, of course, the cost of the framing which must have been quite significant - would cause you to flinch if you had to have it done yourself!

Just a word of warning if you are going to display the textile in your home. The dyes are very likely to fade if you have them in a bright light. If you can hang the framed textile out of direct sun or bright light this should keep its colours glowing much longer.

I hope your wife likes it. These textiles make a strong statement and can be love/hate pieces! This one looks as if the 'action' could be leaping out of the textile into the room so a good dramatic piece - but not exactly restful!

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Well, there is no seam running through the central rider, so we do have half a hinggi. Unless mini-hinggis were all the rage when this one was created.

Upon closer inspection, there is nothing folded behind what can be seen. It puzzles me that some figures are not completely rendered on the margins. Even if there were a companion panel, you'd think that the figures would have been contained within this half of the hinggi rather than continued on the other panel (unless they were never carried over to the second panel).

The colors are slightlyless strong in real life than in these pix.

I've shared this with my friend, and told her that I'd do some more looking to gauge what would be a fair price (ignoring the massive frame). Here are more pix, this time taken with an SLR rather than the point and shoot types already posted. Reducing them to fewer pixels undercuts the value of a better lens.

We're now talking quality of the work, both technically and artistically. Fortunately I am not collecting for a museum, so the ultimate criterion is do I like it enough to own it.

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I'm interestsed in what your experienced eyes see in the context of other hinggis you know. Is this most likely something woven for the tourist trade? What are the tell-tale (or blaring) signs of that?

Would you keep it in the frame (you can see how massive it is from one of these pix) or would it be better preserved in the open air? I'm sensitive to light issues because I collect early printed books, and keep them in the dark when not being used or displayed. But this piece would be out but certainly not in direct sunlight.

As before, I'm grateful for letting me lean on your knowledge.


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 Post subject: Hinggi
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Location: London, UK
You might like to consider that this Sumba ikat is a 'made for tourist' piece. It is difficult to see from the images if the motifs are a mirror image of each other, or if the design is one way up only. If it is one way only, which is what I suspect from the images, this is often called a 'story cloth' and not a true hinggi. The figures are overly large, usually a sign of a 'story cloth' or 'tourist piece' - as a true hingii would have much smaller motifs. Textiles made in the 1970s to 80s were generally of not good quality, as it was the height of the tourist trade. The Sumbanese were employed to make these warp ikat textiles in small factory workshops in Waingapu, usually run by Chinese merchants, who would sell the ikats to the tourist trade arriving on cruise ships or would transfer them to the tourist shops in Bali where they sold cheaply.
The threads would have been dyed with chemical colours, using manufactured threads. The warp bundles were wrapped in large numbers and not tied well hence the 'bleeding' of the colour into the neighbouring threads. This process speeded up production and subsequent weaving of the hinggi, enabling them to be sold at low prices.
These textiles are better stored in closed boxes as they do not react well to light as it will only decrease their value.
To confirm earlier comments made, I think this textile is only one panel, judging from the single central image, which is telling in identifying it as a 'made for tourist' piece, which would not have significant value.
I have attached a Sumba 'story cloth' from our private collection, which might help you in your deliberations. This is a one-way warp ikat made in two panels, woven in the 1980s. Plus a very fine old hinggi taken from the Asian Civlisations Museum in Singapore (which you must visit if you have not alrady done so).


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Sumba mantle Grant (2).JPG
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Lesley Pullen, London
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Lesley, what wonderful pieces. Not only are they a delight to see but they also provide a reference point for what a workshop product done for the tourist trade is. I'm waiting for one of Forshee's books on Sumba textiles to start to diminish my ignorance.
Thanks to all on the site who have been so helpful.
It's a great asset for both cognoscenti and novices.
What I do with my friend's textile remains an open question.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:51 am
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Location: New York
Hi:

I'm not an expert but one way to judge the quality of an ikat is by looking at how tight the ikat is and how clean the dying. The older and non-commercial pieces generally have smaller motifs, as was noted previously, less empty space and the "bleed" where it was wrapped is minimal. Also, as noted earlier, there is a difference in the cloth and the dyes. If a relatively recent piece has good workmanship, then it is worth while as good craft.

When I was in Indonesia in the 1980s, dealers would show articles in magazines or auction catalogs to prove how valuable their piece was. In fact, all they were proving that, having realized some textile was valuable, it was now being copied and produced for tourists. There are many shell sarongs that were faked at this time but you'd need to know the difference in the cloth base to know.

When you look at prices in the US, please realize that things are normally marked up by a factor of 10. If you go onto eBay and search for suzanis, you'll find the same quality there for $75 that will be sold here for $750 - the price of shipping, importing, duty, rent, etc. being factored in to the American price.

If our feedback and your reasearch leads you to believe that this is a tourist piece, and your at a loss as to what to do with it, if the weave is sturdy, consider having it dry cleaned and using it as a throw on a sofa, a bed cover, or drape it over a frame and show only part of it. If you like the pattern and the color, commercial tribal textiles look great in many interiors. I would definitely liberate it from its frame.

I hope this helps.

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Anna


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 Post subject: Image 0096A
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:01 pm 
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Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Hi all, In the new photos did anyone notice that the kabakil or end border seems to have ikat motifs in the weft direction. I think it is actually a warp ikat but used in the weft direction when the kabakil was woven. These borders are woven on mini looms and not twined I believe. I have photos and a movie of them being woven on Sumba which I took back in the 70s. What surprises me is that the kabakil contains ikat motifs! I think this is the first time I have ever seen this! Pieces made for the tourist trade in the 70s and 80s were usually of extra large size as if big ment a better price. Gotta go , later MAC


Last edited by MAC on Mon May 30, 2011 4:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Royal Funerals
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:15 am 
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Location: Japan
In the 80s the last of the royalty on Sumba was ageing. Raja Pau, Queen Juliana, Raja Kapunduk and Preilu etc. As their sons were not to become Raja after them, modern independent Indonesia and all, their passing would bring an end to an era and a way of life. As the last of the Merapu kings, their funerals would be mega events with hundreds of horses and buffalo being sacrificed and preparations requiring years. In the funeral a slave in trance rides the Raja's horse to the crypt and in prior times was supposedly entombed with the horse ,other household slaves and perhaps even a wife or two, all going to the other world with the Raja.

Some of the textiles that were produced after such mega event funerals told the story of these funerals and showed as I think this one does, the slave in trance, in this case riding a buffalo(perhaps the albino one that was a special sacrifice) to the grave ahead of the body of the Raja. Skull trees and other totem symbols, the gold jewelry and attendants, followed by the wives and family would be portrayed on textiles recording this journey to the grave and the other world of the ancestors.

I have seen a number of similar hinggi, some on the textile site of late, with what seems to be funeral story motifs. I don't remember seeing any motifs like this in the 70s when I made several trips to Sumba and photographed some of the Rajas and Queen Juliana.

Lesley's textile seems to show the slave on the Raja's horse with the attendants at the side on the way to the crypt and if I remember in my post of Sumba Dragons, showing an old, handspun hinggi from Pau, a funeral hinggi was posted right after my hinggi.

These funerals would have been mega events in which the whole island of Sumba was involved and everyone attended. They would be the end of an era that will never be again and it seems natural that they would be commemorated in the textiles that are the artistic expression of the Sumbanese culture.

Best Regards, MAC


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