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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 5:20 pm 
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Posts: 248
Location: Japan
Can anyone help identify where in Indonesia these textiles were produced? Does anyone have similar textiles or know of any books showing such pieces? Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Both textiles have weft ikat patterns and are woven from extremely fine, single ply, handspun or perhaps wheelspun cotton thread. They are weft faced and tightly crammed so the light indigo warps can hardly be seen. The base weft color is more a dark, rich brown than the redish tones in the photos.

From a distance these textiles appear as rather simple, weft striped fabrics. Closer examination, however, reveals a sophisticated intricacy that requires a magnifying glass to really be appreciated. Many of the stripes are only two threads in width and can not be seen from a foot away.

A major design characteristic of both textiles is the division of the ikat motif in half. The halves are arranged in repeated minor bands between the major bands containing the whole motif. Numerous, intricate stripes seperate all the ikat bands. An unusual shading technique is used on only one side of the wider, plain stripes making that side slowly fade into the ground color.

The first textile has only one, simple ikat motif: The Birth Symbol. It consists of a dot inside a (hooked?) diamond inside a larger hooked diamond. The motif is repeated five times in each band across the textile.

The width of the full ikat motif band is only 1 cen. or 3/8 inch. 19 seems to be the special number of this textile. The major ikat band is repeated 19 times over the length of the cloth. Six minor bands of half motifs are arranged between the major ikat bands and repeat 19 times. Altogether there are 76 repeats of the full ikat motif, 4X19. Nineteen are as full motifs and 114 are as half motifs. The full ikat motif seems to be composed of 38 passes of the weft, 19 each way.

Using a magnifying glass I counted the number of weft changes between two major ikat bands. 48 changes were required to produce the stripes and shading between the six half motif bands. Multiply this by the 19 repeats and it took more than 900 weft changes to construct (weave) this textile. The concentration and effort required to count and maintain the order of all of these regularly repeating changes is amazing.

Weaving is interspersed with other daily life activites, and usually takes several months. It is a wonder the weaver could remember where they left off after their last weaving session. All of this effort and concentration was expended to produce a textile with stripes and shading that can hardly be seen without a magnifying glass. The weaver must have had extremely good eyesight as well as dyeing and weaving skills!

This textile has threads attached on the corner of one end and in the middle of the other end which may indicate that it was not worn but hung somehow as a ceremonial or religious textile. The question is "Where was it produced?"


Attachments:
File comment: 1/3 of textile shown. Full size 94X195 cen.
DSCF1486.JPG
DSCF1486.JPG [ 68.35 KiB | Viewed 4572 times ]
File comment: Main ikat bands with the full ikat motif and minor bands with half of the ikat motif
DSCF1487.JPG
DSCF1487.JPG [ 174 KiB | Viewed 4572 times ]
File comment: Left side showing the end of the weft ikat bands
DSCF1489.JPG
DSCF1489.JPG [ 184.73 KiB | Viewed 4572 times ]
File comment: A look at the repeating ikat bands and stripes
DSCF1490.JPG
DSCF1490.JPG [ 89.4 KiB | Viewed 4572 times ]
File comment: Weft faced and tightly crammed, only one spot of the light indigo warp can be seen
DSCF1499.JPG
DSCF1499.JPG [ 98.43 KiB | Viewed 4572 times ]
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 Post subject: The Second Textile
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Posts: 248
Location: Japan
The second textile is similar to the first but has 3 weft ikat patterns. The main motif is more intricate and is bordered by simpler meander and dot ikat patterns. The main ikat pattern is also halved and arranged in bands between intricate stripes. The shading on one side of the wider, plain stripes is clearer than on the first textile. Both ends have brocade borders and an added fringe of knotted, red and white threads. I wonder if this textile could have had a higher rank or status than the first one.

The full ikat band on this textile is 2 cen., or about 6/8 inch wide. Between the white stripes that border the main ikat band the weft was changed 38 times in a width of only 6 cen., or just under 2 3/8 inches. Counting the weft changes on the bands between the major ikat motifs and multiplying by the number of repeats I got about 1,200 weft changes to produce this textile.

I feel this textile is a bit older than the first and wonder if it could go back to the latter half of the 19th C. The rather crude patching was probably not done by the dyer-weaver who produced the cloth. The patches are of the same age and type of textile but are rather roughly sewn on with 2 ply commercial thread, although this was probably done some time ago.

The main ikat band is repeated five times and the half ikat bands repeat 46 times. The colors of this cloth are especially rich and the person who produced it was surely a master spinner, dyer and weaver. The mystery is where the cloth was produced. Has anyone seen a similar textile or does anyone have a similar piece they would be good enough to share?

Best regards, MAC


Attachments:
File comment: 1/3 of textile shown. Full size 88X220 cen.
DSCF1516.JPG
DSCF1516.JPG [ 116.2 KiB | Viewed 4560 times ]
File comment: The repetition of the ikat bands and intricate stripes
DSCF1521.JPG
DSCF1521.JPG [ 83.1 KiB | Viewed 4560 times ]
File comment: Showing the main ikat motif and shading on the red, white and blue stripes
DSCF1534.JPG
DSCF1534.JPG [ 75.98 KiB | Viewed 4560 times ]
File comment: Showing the brocade border, the attached, knotted fringe and the shading on one side of the rust red stripe. The meander and dot patterns can also be seen.
DSCF1518.JPG
DSCF1518.JPG [ 115.7 KiB | Viewed 4560 times ]
File comment: The threads are clearly handspun and not crammed as tightly as the first textile showing more of the light indigo warps
DSCF1514.JPG
DSCF1514.JPG [ 120.59 KiB | Viewed 4560 times ]
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 Post subject: Ikats
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:11 am 
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Location: California, USA
I am not sure but have you looked at textiles from Lembata or Flores? Alternatively, they look a bit like some of the Palembang ikats I have seen. Just some ideas.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:13 pm
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Location: California, USA
I also have some that are sort of similar that are from Timor.
Good luck!


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 Post subject: Mystery Ikats
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:13 am 
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I also have some that are sort of similar that are from Timor.
Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 248
Location: Japan
Gail, Thanks for your ideas. Would love to see some of your textiles, especially pieces that you think are similar to the ones I posted. Timor, Lembata, Flores, Palembang; sounds very interesting! Hope you will share some of your collection with us.

I went to Timor, Lembata and Flores a number of times in the 70s and 80s and have textiles from all three areas. The hook and diamond form of the birth symbol is a very common motif on Timor. Lembata and Flores show more influence from patola than Timor does, but the birth symbol can still be found in their motifs.

Although there is a similarity in motif, the big difference would be that the textiles of Timor, Lembata and Flores are dyed using the warp ikat technique while the ones I posted are weft ikat. I don't think I have ever seen a weft ikat from Timor, Lembata or Flores.

I have been to Sumatra a number of times as well, but unfortunately never made it to Palembang. Palembang is famous for its weft ikats but is surpassed, I think, by the five color weft ikats of Bangka Island, Lampung and Malaysia.

Although the dyeing technique, weft ikat, is the same, the difference would be the fiber used. The weft ikats of Palembang, Bangka, Lampung and Malaysia are done in silk.

Where these cotton, weft ikats were produced is still a mystery. I hope someone will have pieces like these that they will share or information about such textiles in a museum collection or book about Indonesian textiles. There must be other textiles like these somewhere. Any help in finding them will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and best regards. MAC


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Hi Mac

Very interesting textiles and the work you describe is amazing. I am afraid that I do not recognise them. Unfortunately when a textile is very subtle and does not appear as a strong image when shown whole on the page of a book it is very difficult to identify unless someone happens to have a similar textile and knows it well.

This could be a long haul waiting for an ID! It is not even easy to hold details of the textile in the mind!

I will be very interested to know its origin.

Best,

_________________
Pamela

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


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