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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Hallo all,
The whole thread, which altogether ran to 35+ postings, began with a Lamalera cloth posten by John Cheah.

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File comment: The picture that started it all...
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I wrote (in a post that has mysteriously got lost' that what is depicted here is a peledang, the type out outrigger sailing prahu used for whaling, and that the pointy things are not harpoons, as I had originally thought, but the oars that are used to get the boat out to sea, and to accelerate it when needed during the hunt. Also, that the other motif represents ikan pari, sting rays.

John Cheah Peter, you mean the boat is the triangular jagged edged outline with an oar protruding at each side, flanked by sting rays?

Darrell McKnight John Cheah, Yes, the boat is seen from the bow as a cross section and not from the side. Here is a photo of a 2 panel sarong with a side view of the boat and crew with the only depiction of a whale that I have seen.

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File comment: Sarong with whales
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Darrell McKnight Do either of you have any ideas on the star, H and diamond motifs in and around the boat? Thanks.
17 December at 13:07 • Like

Discussion took a side trip to a cloth from Kisar.

Peter ten Hoopen As for the whales in your cloth, Darrell McKnight, I wonder if that is a new creation. They were never part of the vernacular.

Darrell McKnight Peter, The colors are good, the warp threads uncut, maintaining its ritual, bride wealth value and the price was so reasonable that I feel it is not really that new. Since the cruise ships started stopping at Lamalera and tourist traffic increased the prices being asked have increased steadily. This piece was so inexpensive that I just can't imagine that it came out in the last 20 or 30 years. If it were newer production for the tourist market one would think we would see more of them but this is the only one I have ever seen. The colors are good, including 2 shades of red, the ikat quite clear and the hand spun thread quite even so it was made by a skilled, veteran dyer/weaver. Even if it was made in the last 20 years I really like it. If we see other pieces with whale motifs start coming out that may indicate that it is a market response but so far this is the only one that I know of. I find it strange that the whale, the most prized, valuable and sought after catch of all, for which the fishermen risk their lives, is not a common part of their motif repertoire.

Georges Breguet Another rendition of the boat and the ray mantas. The picture of this textile is not complete and the pattern not spectacular but, trust me, this textile is a seldom type from Lamalera, because made of 5 pannels not 3. In Lamalera you can find sarong with 2 and 3 pannels and exceptionnaly with 5. It was written long time ago that there was also 7 and 9 pannels sarongs but it is prabably wrong and I never cross one of them on the spot or in private or public collections.

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File comment: George Breguet's cloth
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Darrell McKnight Georges, Although we can not see all of the textile it seems to have diamond motifs. This and the silk makes me wonder if it is not from Atadei, where diamond motifs seem to be the norm, rather than Lamalera. It is a great and probably old piece and we would love to see the whole cloth. Thanks for posting it. [A little later...] Georges, I was too quick to reply and from your second photo it seems clear that it is from Lamalera with the boats and ray motifs. Great piece!!! Thanks.

Mark Johnson Boats? Maybe, as the islanders are known for their whale hunts. Or Volcanos? When I was on Lembata Island in the 1980s, I was told these forms represented volcanos. There is at least one massive volcano that dominates the island.

Darrell McKnight It seems that textiles from Lamalera, the whaling village on the south coast, often have these ship motifs while those attributed to the inland village of Atadei, closer to the volcano, usually do not. The textiles reported from Atadei normally have patola influenced diamond patterns. While this is a general observation it seems to indicate that these V shaped patterns, sometimes with people in them as in one of Peter's pieces, are boats rather than volcanos. Whaling I think is limited to only two villages on the SW coast.

Peter ten Hoopen Okay guys, let's try to get a grip. 1. The triangles are not volcanoes, but peledang, the outrigger canoes used in the whale hunt, oars sticking out, usually manned by little humanoids. 2. This type is typical for Lamalera, not Atadei or Ili Api. 3. There are no old Lamalera cloths known from literature or published museum collections that have whale motifs. It is very likely that depicting whales was simply taboo, so as not to jinx the hunt. 4. Low price is no guarantee for old manufacture - quite the contrary. The Lembatans are not stupid. 5. Weavers in Indonesia are getting better each year at producing for the market. Trends: more figurative, more colorful (see also the 'Alor' pieces made on surf/dive island Ternate with its cutesy aquatic motifs) and more 'virginal' pieces, also on Flores - which were never intended as bridewealth. There was a virginal Lembata also at the last Peerdeman auction, a few weeks ago. I have handled it in a private preview and can assure you that it looked the part, but was no older than ten years. Virginal yes, but no maid. Don't underestimate the islander's smarts!

Mark Johnson Still not seeing a boat of any kind in these images.

Peter ten Hoopen Hallo Mark Johnson, have a look on my site at #047 and #048, click on the little loupe to load the hires version, and study the triangles with the magnifier. Especially 048 is quite clear. See the point of the triangle as the keel of the boat. Of course the perspective is way off, but all the elements are there. Hope this helps...

Inserted here are the #047 and #048:
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File comment: PtH's cloth #047
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File comment: PtH's cloth #048
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Susi Johnston incredible ikat! [Not a vital element of the thread, admittedly but posted anyway as a reward for all this labour.]

Mark Johnson Hi Peter. I had a look at the two examples on your website [the #047 and #048 shown above]. I also reviewed my modest group of Lembata textiles that I collected in the Lamalera area in the mid 80s and reviewed Ruth Barnes' book "The Ikat Textiles of Lamalera", as well as any other examples I could easily find in other publications. I found a lot of examples of these triangular motifs, but nothing consistent or clearly representing boats. Some had figures around them, some did not, some had these "oars", others did not, some were stepped like Mayan pyramids, some were smoothed sided and so on. The only obvious boat motifs I could find (one in Ruth's book and Darrell's example above...I am not sure about the image in Georges' example) show the boat in profile with that small platform on the bow. This is more consistent with the type of whaling boat used in Lamalera, which has a shallow draft (without a keel, as they pull the boat on shore and store it in a shed on the beach) and a platform for the harpooner. They do row the boat away from shore, but they quickly raise the mast and use a sail. You would think that the boat motifs from Lamalera would be dominated by a mast and sail, not oars. But, more importantly, showing a boat head on instead of in profile would be very unusual in Indonesia (or with any Austronesian people). Unless, I am missing some other references, virtually every time I have seen a boat motif in Indonesian art, the image is in profile, often with distinct masts, sails, prows, and structures (with figures and ritual objects) on a clearly defined deck. Granted, there are some images with oars depicted as well, but usually diagonally in rows. I am just not convinced that a front view, in cross-section, with ill-defined placement of figures and without any other obvious "sailing" motifs (other than images that could be "oars") represent boats. As I mentioned earlier, some of the weavers I met on Lembata said these motifs represented volcanos or mountains, the most dominate feature on the island. That certainly makes more sense to me, but they could be some other kind of structure or perhaps just some kind of zigzag divider that has no special meaning (so far I could find no collaborative reference, either way, on this subject in any publication). The motifs identified as "oars", if seen in the opposite direction, look more like parasols, or perhaps trees. As an aside, in tree-of-life plaited mats from central Borneo, there is a similar stepped pyramid motif that is identified as a sacred mountain, which is decorated with similar shaped parasols, as well as gongs, jars, people and of course the tree-of-life which grows straight out of the top of the mountain. I will keep looking through my references and if I can find any additional information that brings clarity to this discussion, I will post asap.

John Ang Wow Mark Johnson thanks for the detailed analysis of these Lembata triangles. Will ask the weavers when I am there in May.

Mark Johnson Hi John. That would be really helpful and interesting to note if information or trends have changed much since the 80s. I look forward to your follow-up.

Georges Breguet This sarong from Ternate/Pantar shows what Mark Johnson names pyramid or sacred mountain decorated with parasols. Its presence in the area Lembata - Pantar - Alor is attested. [Cannot upload image, maximum of five has been reached.]

Peter ten Hoopen This is in response to Mark Johnson's post about the boats. I concur with much of what you say Mark, but not entirely. I spent a week in Lamalera in 1981 and went to sea on the hunt. Yes, the men row out, then put up the sails - when and if there is enough wind to bother, which is not the case every day. But even when there is wind, the oarsmen are of paramount importance when a target has been sighted, as they alone can help the boat accelerate and steer it towards the target. The sails do not provide enough speed, nor the manoeuvrability. I asked the lady from whom I bought my first piece (#048) and she told me that the triangle represented the peledang (sailing prahu), the pointy things the oars. (I had thought they were harpoons.) The other types of boats depicted on Lembata textiles are locally called tena, and appear to be sampans. Yes, the peledang are pulled onto the beach each afternoon, but the cross section is in fact a slightly curved triangle (the boats are very narrow, barely wider than a grown man's waist). The panels out of which the boat is constructed, amazingly, are held together only with rope. No nails or wooden pins. I was told that this gives them the flexibility to withstand a slap of a whale fin. Now as for the respresentation of the boat, I had never thought of a cross section until someone, I believe Mac, told me that I had to see it that way. I had thought of the bow of the boat, which actually would place the oars in correct perspective. Depicting the bow of a boat, or actually reconstructing one in stone is common in Tanimbar and some of the 'Forgotten Islands', such as the Kei and Aru islands. Nearly all villages have a kind of meeting place in the form of bow, a triangle made of of stone, which represents the boat that ancestors used when they first came over. (There is a whole chapter on them in De Jonge and Van Dijk.) The people from Lembata (see Ruth Barnes) themselves believe that they came from elsewhere, probably not too many generations ago. I am not saying that this proves anything (and Lembatans certainly don't look like Tanimbarase), but it builds up rather nicely towards a veneration of the boat which is used in obtaining their livelihood, and may also be connected to a legend of origin. As for the triangle representing a volcano, I might be open to that if it were a motif from Ili Api (literally Fire Mountain), but it is from Lamelera, and as far as I remember you cannot even see Ili Api from Lamalera, except when far out at sea (the village lies just above the beach, with a hillside above it). JUST ONE MORE THING: HOW MUCH MORE VALUABLE WOULD THIS WHOLE EXCHANGE HAVE BEEN IF IT HAD BEEN HELD ON http://www.tribaltextiles.info WHERE IT WOULD HAVE REMAINED AVAILABLE AND SEARCHABLE, WHEREAS THIS WHOLE THREAD WILL DISSIPATE INTO DIGITAL LIMBO.

David Richardson Peter, just an afterthought - you refer to the tena and the peledang as though they are two different vessels. Bob Barnes makes it clear that the whaling vessel is called a tena in Lamaholot and a peledang in the local version of Bahasa Indonesia.

Peter ten Hoopen Yes indeed I thought that they were different vessels. And one highly regarded source, which I actually found hard to credit, suggested that the tena were Chinese vessels. Will look into this in the coming days and see if I can find the reference in my library (wish I had been more methodical in my administration of references.)

Peter ten Hoopen[A little later...] David you are clearly correct that tena and peledang are the same thing. The words seem to be interchangeable. A wonderfully rich source, including elaborate description of the construction is here: http://www.academia.edu/542984/Time_travels_in_whaling_boats

Peter ten Hoopen[A little later...] As it happens David Richardson, I did not have to dig too deep to find my sources: I found them on my own website. At page http://ikat.us/ikat_119.php, the one showing the Atadei refered to above I wrote: "As Atadei, unlike Lamalera, is not a whaling village, it is possible that the V-shape motif does not represent peledang, but, as Robyn Maxwell writes in Textiles of Southeast Asia, and Ruth Barnes in To Speak With Cloth, a boat with paddles called tena." So there you have it, the Barnes disagreeing among each other, with Maxwell chiming in for Ruth. And we poor ignorant laymen are trying to resolve this? Still that article I refered to above may well hold the key. Maybe any boat maybe called either peledang or tena - or even prahu for that matter.

David Richardson There is only one authoritative source on the whaling community at Lamalera - Bob Barnes' 'Sea Hunters of Indonesia'. It tells you everything you would ever want to know about Lamalera and the whale hunters. Barnes loves immersing himself in huge quantities of detail, so much so that it's sometimes hard to get an overview on what he's talking about. On page 393 of his book he tries to examine the meaning of the word 'peledang' and concludes that it is neither Malay or Indonesian, but may be an adjective derived from Lamaholot. Thus a 'téna peleda' is a téna in which there are places for rowers to sit or support themselves. Today they call these boats a 'téna lama faij', while a boat with a sail is a 'téna laja'.

Peter ten Hoopen Thanks for doing our homework for us David Richardson! Clearly the guys I sailed with did not, as they stubbornly referred to their boat as a peladang. Maybe the just left 'tena' off as too obvious to be needed. When an adjective is very specific for one particular article, the noun may be considered implied. Just as in the village here I can walk into my local coffeeshop and ask for a pingada. The guy will know that I want a coffee, and that I want it with a pingo of milk. However, there is also another possibility, which my homework shows up, namely that tena is a Solerese term. Ernst Vatter who was in Lembata a considerable time and known to be very 'gründlich', in his famous 'Ata Kiwam' (1928) spoke of a peledang when refering to the whaling prahu. Let me quote Vatter: "...in grossen Ausleger-Plankenbooten, den sogenannten 'Pledangs', soloresisch 'täna', ausgeübt wird. Passim he consistently refers to pledang. When thinking of the Solorese term, keep in mind that in Lamakera of Solor was also practiced. Getting terminology is a vexing business. Forn another example: while Ruth Barnes in 'To Speak With Cloth' calls the manta ray motif 'moku', the fellows I went to sea with called them 'ikan pari'. Is the latter perhaps bahasa, whereas moku is the name in the local language? Or is one Lamaleran Lamaholot and the other Solorese, the old lingua france of the islands?

Likely to be continued, ideally HERE...

Merry Christmas everybody, and happy hunting!
Peter

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:59 pm 
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Hi Peter,
Wow what a lot of work - well done! Yes ikan pari is Bahasa and moku is Lamaholot.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:52 pm 
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I don't want to interrupt the flow of this thread but I do want to thank Peter for all the concentration and effort it will have taken him to summarise and replicate the Facebook discussion on Lembata textiles here. I can appreciate only too well just what an effort it will have been - congratulations Peter!!!

This is a fascinating discussion - thank you so very much for sharing it with the forum. I hope that it can be added to over time.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:31 pm 
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Peter, one word...LEGEND ! thanks for going to that amount of trouble adding to the knowledge pool here - where it should be. A most informative and analytical discussion there ! Great to see Lembata textiles ( and importantly the culture ) getting all this "air-time". Regards - Steve.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 12:36 am 
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Thank, thanks, and thanks. Glad you guys feel it was worth it.

Saúde,
Peter

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:04 pm 
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Awesome! Thank you Peter for taking the time and energy to sort through that discussion on Facebook and re-post it on the Tribal Textiles website. I am including the textile that Georges posted, that you were not able to add.
Mark


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:20 pm 
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Great Mark, thanks for adding that visual. My best wishes for the new year.

Peter

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 5:00 pm 
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David Richardson
. Peter, Merry Christmas. Téna is the Lamaholot word for boat, so maybe it's not surprising that it is used elsewhere in the region. Likewise moku is Lamaholot and ikan pari is Bahasa. Barnes is no slouch - in 1995 he published his study of the Lamakera whaling community on Solor. Apparently it was traditional for the Muslim villages of the Solor Strait to use the 'kora kora', a wide-bodied outrigger-less open boat, about 12m long - quite different from the long and thin Maluku kora kora. However the boats used at Lamakera happen to be very similar in design to those from Lamalera. According to Barnes, the Lamerlarans claim that this is because the Lamakerans attacked two of their boats in the Solor Strait that were returning from Larantuka after paying tribute. One boat, the Sili Téna, was captured and its crew massacred but the other escaped to Adonara. The incident was confirmed in the 1883 report of the Resident of Timor. The Lamalerans claim that following this attack, the Lamakerans copied the design of their boats.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 5:11 pm 
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Great backstory, David!

Thanks,
Peter

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:54 am 
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Many thanks to Mark for having posted the image of Georges Breguet's textile which Peter was unable to post due to the forum limit of 5 images per post. I have this morning done what I should have done ages ago, I have increased the limit of attachments per post on the public forum to 10. The limit of 5 remains in the case of attachments to private messages.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Hallo Pamela, excellent idea to increase the max number of images per posting.

P.

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 4:49 pm 
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Posted two images on FB that seem to provide a definite answer to this discussion.

The first is from a Savu sarong in the collection of Asian Cultures Museum. The motif is similar - but recognizably a boat:

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File comment: Savu sarong in ACM.
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The second is a Lio shawl of unknown age, unknown material and unknown dye type that someone offered me via my website:

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File comment: Lio shawl, uncertain date, material and dye.
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The resemblance to the Lembata motif is particularly striking. It seems to represent a typical story of migration such as we also see in Kisar, Luang, Leti, and Lautem cloths. Knowledge about such stories came to me via Aone van Engelenhoven, a professor of linguistics in Leyden whose mother hails from Leti. Most common in the Leti islands is a series of 1) Hill representing country of origin, 2) Boat representing voyage of flight, 3) Battle, represented by men on horses, and 4) Hutments or houses representing new settlement. On the Lio cloth we clearly see phases 2 and 3, not the rest.

Enjoy,
Peter

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