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Ikat from Alor, Solor Archipelago, Indonesia

166 Solor Archipelago, Alor

Sarongdetailmicroscope  magnifier

Origin: Solor Archipelago, Alor
Locale: West Alor, Bird's Head Peninsula, also referred to as Kabola or Adang Peninsula after the languages spoken here.
Period: 1920-1950
Yarn: Cotton, hand spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 58 x 119 cm (22.8 x 46.8)
Weight: 495 g (17.5 oz), 359 g/m2 (1.18 oz/ft2)
Design: Two wide bands in white on indigo with motifs that are reminiscent of ikan pari, sting ray. The motifs are alternately decorated with crosses and diamonds and have small hooks attached that suggest tentacles, but may also have been inspired by Timorese kaif motifs. The wide bands are bordered by narrower bands with arrays of dots. Midfield with narrow pinstripes, some a single thread wide. Two broad plain indigo bands towards the extremities bordered with narrow bands containing wavelike motifs. All natural dyes.
Comment: Possibly unique early 20th C. Alor sarong. Overall coloration is unusual for Alor where brownish morinda dominates. After serious searching, the author could not find a piece with the same or similar motifs and the same indigo palette. Most likely this is one of the last survivors of a style, a weaving culture, that disappeared - due to disaster, the movement of people, or the influence of Christian missionaries - and disappeared with, so far, only this trace.
Background: For additional information see chapter on Solor Archipelago and/or Alor.
Exhibited: Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, 2014/15
Published: Peter ten Hoopen, Woven Languages, 2014, HALI 181/2014, Carpet Collector 3/2014
Compare: 114
Literature: No similar piece known from literature or public collections, not even in the Ernst Vatter collection, but the author photographed a woman in Sabandar, a hamlet in the Adang speaking part of the Bird's Head Peninsula in north-western Alor, sometimes refered to as the Kabola Peninsula, wearing a similar sarong in the same indigo palette, in 1981. See photo below.

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