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 Post subject: Toraja Ma'wa Textile
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 9:33 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
This Ma'wa came from an Austrian collection some years ago. Very unusual pattern with stalking leopards that are shown in side view, not unlike painted patterns of animals in the Himalayas. I would love comments on this piece, especially if anyone has any insights to the origin or use of these motifs.


Attachments:
File comment: Full Textile
2466a.4-2.jpg
2466a.4-2.jpg [ 152.77 KiB | Viewed 2137 times ]
File comment: Hand painted stalking leopard
2466b.4-2.jpg
2466b.4-2.jpg [ 233.51 KiB | Viewed 2137 times ]
File comment: Stamped "Bush" patterns
2466c.4-1.jpg
2466c.4-1.jpg [ 141.75 KiB | Viewed 2137 times ]

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Mark Johnson

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Mark A. Johnson Tribal Art
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Mark

What a simply stunning textile! I have to confess not having been aware of these Ma'wa before. I did a 'Google' and, for anyone else who does not know much about them I found some info - text, unfortunately no photo - for one in the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney from which I have extracted some detail: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collect ... irn=170568

Quote:
"Production notes:
The Toraja live on the Island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The Toraja have developed a technique of direct wood block printing which they combine with painting to produce these highly individual cloths.

Mawa or ma'a textiles are family treasures used to sanctify rituals surrounding birth, death and fertility.

.............................

History Notes:
Cloths like this were used to sanctify important rituals surrounding birth, death and fertility. This mawa shows the influence of Indian design, many painted cottons imported from India were also accorded the status of mawa.


Dallas Museum of Art has a Ma'wa and their information includes:

Quote:
"The word mawa' (or maa') designates a category of textiles that the Sa'dan Toraja consider sacred. Usually wide and rectangular in shape, a mawa' may be imported patterned cloth from India or the stamped and painted style that was once locally made. Regardless of the type, mawa' were thought to have extraordinary powers, such as the ability to bless people and their animals and plants. The sacred textiles, which were often given personal names, were stored in baskets or wooden chests in the southwestern part of the traditional house, an area associated with the ancestors."
Cloths like this were used to sanctify important rituals surrounding birth, death and fertility. This mawa shows the influence of Indian design, many painted cottons imported from India were also accorded the status of mawa.


To my eyes there is a very, very strong Indian influence here and I could almost imagine that it was an import from India - design and technique.

Thanks very much indeed, Mark, for sharing this gem with us.

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 Post subject: Ma'wa
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 9:33 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
This example was reported to have been bought in the Toraja area, but I absolutely agree it has a strong Indian influence. In my view it was either made in Sulawesi, with the artist copying some Indian style motifs for the leopards (most likely explanation) or possibly made in India for the Torajan market (possible, because this did happen, but I think unlikely in this case). I would be great to track the history of this piece.

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