'Greater Blossom' Clan, Savu, Eastern Indonesia
late 19th century
length: 184cm (not including fringe); width: 90cm
This warp ikat selendang in red, blue, and indigo vegetable dyes is from Savu, a small group of islands in eastern Indonesia. The motif is of Savu's 'Greater
Blossom' clan. It comprises two cloths that have been very carefully hand stitched together lengthways. The technique for the handstitching is suggestive of a
late 19th century dating.
The Savu islands are low-rainfall and lie between Timor and Sumba. The current population of the islands is about 30,000 and traditionally the people's belief
system comprised a mix of early Javanese Hinduism and animism. The designs on ceremonial warp-ikat cloths on the islands indicate clan affiliation.
The two principal clans are the Greater Blossom (Hube Ae) group and the Lesser Blossom (Hube Iki) group. Textiles that make use of the motifs associated
with clan membership are kept for ceremonial wear only.
The condition is very good given the age - some fading and some minor fraying to the edges here and there, and some wear to the middle of one of the two
main panels. But overall, the textile is robust and stable.
References: Similar Savu ikats are illustrated and described in Gillow, J., Traditional Indonesian Textiles, Thames & Hudson, 1995.
Inventory no.: 561
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