Yorke Antique Textiles

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Item Details
Kambera, East Sumba, Indonesia
A Sumba Hinggi woven from very fine handspun cotton yarn. Such handspun cotton yarn was rarely used in Sumba after the turn of the 20th C, as the evenness of imported commercial threads, and especially the very fine Dutch thread, were easier to tie tightly. The dyes are natural, and the technique is warp ikat. “The golden brown color, seen on the horses and the inner 3 bands of non-figurative motifs, is a special color reserved for the high born, the patola ratu (geometric bands on either side of the central one) is the prerogative of particular aristocratic clans. It is a hinggi of great vivid beauty woven in Kambera with a wide range of glowing colors that mesh in a dazzling overall picture. The different tones of the over-dyed violet-brown-wine ground are especially lovely. Of particular note is the edging of the motifs in red, and the way the fuzzy outlines of the images, which is typical of older sumba ikat, lend the picture a dynamic movement. The central branching motif is unusual as it is only found on older cloths belonging to the ruling class, and the bands of geometric design flanking it are a royal symbol, called patola ratu, derived from patola trade cloths. The dappled effect of the patola ratu pattern is compared to resemble the python's skin as a symbol of regeneration, since the python could shed its skin and be "re-born". The condition is perfect, with no stains, holes or tears of any kind. The colors are fresh and lively, especially the light watermelon red. The handspun cotton is exceptionally fine and tightly woven, creating a thin but dense textile with a heavy drape, a stiff, springy handle and sandy texture. 50” x 101” (including fringe).
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