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Kreot Beloge


T010-FL-DP-001 Edit

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The Blepanawa Weavers Group are all members of PEKKA.

The Blepanawa Weavers Group are all members of PEKKA.

The people living under the Ile Mandiri mountain on the eastern tip of Flores are weavers and basketry artisans as well as being farmers. Many of the women living in the village of Demun Pagong are part of an organization called PEKKA which is a national organization that supports women-headed households. Indonesian law recognizes only men as householders, so single women – who have been left by or have lost their husbands – suffer discrimination and isolation. Threads of Life is working with PEKKA as many of these marginalized women are weavers. The people of Demun Pagong maintain their tradition of using textiles as a gift exchange at marriage. This textile, locally called Kreot Beloge, is the most highly regarded ritual textile that is exchanged at marriage. It is handspun and predominately red and with small shells as decoration.

  • Woman`s Tubular Sarong
  • 2011
  • Tied, dyed, and woven by Antonia Bui Hera
  • Bama, Larantuka, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Handspun Cotton Natural Dyes
  • 62 cm x 151 cm-24 in x 59 in
  • Code # T01.FL.DP.001


Lawo Butu


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Ayub Fransiskus Surry Patty wearing a cowrie shell necklace from the clan treasury, Bajawa, Flores.

Ayub Fransiskus Surry Patty wearing a cowrie shell necklace from the clan treasury, Bajawa, Flores.

There are ten grades of cloth in the Bajawa region of Flores, ranked by motif size, type, and quality. Every weaver must ’’graduate’’ from each level before making a higher-grade textile. Lawo butu belong to the highest grade, and very few weavers are qualified to make them. Lawo butuskirts are sacred in Ngada culture, and some have been preserved in clan treasuries for over 200 years. Antiquelawo butu are priceless, particularly since new ones are so rare. If the old clan piece is intact, a female elder might wear it to the dedication of a new clan shrine. Often the old lawo is in tatters, and the elder simply lays it across the shrine’s main post for the consecration. These old pieces are stylistic touchstones for modern weavers, who can use them to replicate traditional clan motifs like the beaded boat, tadpoles, octopi, and water-boatmen on this piece.

  • Ceremonial Tubular Skirt
  • 2006
  • Tied by Leonardus Woukurry
  • Dyed, woven, and beaded by Katarina Paba
  • Langa village, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes, beads and shells
  • 75 x 174 cm. (29.5 x 68.5 in)
  • Code # T.FL.BA.045 


Manu Atabian


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A dance to accompany the bridewealth exchange, Watublapi, Flores.

A dance to accompany the bridewealth exchange, Watublapi, Flores.

Weaving knowledge is fragile. Complex dye preparations, weaving techniques, and the meanings of ancient clan motifs are all passed down orally. In some communities, they are not passed down at all. This knowledge is being lost every day, and is impossible to recover. The Sikka Krowe people of Watublapi village are working hard to maintain their cultural continuity, and are carefully recording the meanings of ancestral motifs like manu atabian.Manu means chicken in the Sikka language, and atabian refers to the ancestors, who are represented guarding the hens in the broad blue bands of this tubular skirt. Manu atabian symbolizes the ancestors’ ability to offer protection and prosperity, and is among the oldest motifs used by the Sikka Krowe. A textile with this motif would be included in the ritual exchange of gifts at a traditional wedding.

  • Woman`s Tubular Skirt
  • 2007
  • Tied and woven by Afrida Dua Nina
  • Dyed by Afrida Dua Nina and Daniel David
  • Watublapi village, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 66 x 155 cm. (26 x 61 in)
  • Code # T.FL.BL.148

Lea Ramu


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Preparing to weave a new piece, Watublapi, Flores.

Preparing to weave a new piece, Watublapi, Flores.

For generations, extraordinary trade textiles have come out of the Sikka regency of Flores, near the coastal city of Maumere. Even today the Sikka people exchange their cloths for food, animals, machinery, and other goods at bustling local markets. The large, bold motifs on this tube-shaped skirt mark the woman who wears it as unmarried. This piece is exceptional for the crisp clarity of its designs. Sikka women advertise their rare weaving abilities–and their desirability as marriage partners–through pieces like this one. The few Sikka weavers who still use natural dyes follow secret family recipes. This motif, called lea ramu, depicts the leaves and flowers of a local plant, which Maria and Manyelus used to deepen their blue indigo dye to this midnight black.

  • Woman`s Tubular Skirt
  • 2007
  • Tied and woven by Maria Magdalena Kartini
  • Dyed by Maria Magdalena Kartini and Manyelus Inosensius
  • Watublapi village, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 63 x 160 cm. (25 x 63 in)
  • Code # T.FL.BL.157


Lawo Singi One


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Ita Yusuf boiling threads in red sappan-wood dye (Caesalpinia sappan), Ndona, Flores.

Ita Yusuf boiling threads in red sappan-wood dye (Caesalpinia sappan), Ndona, Flores.

Muslim traders from islands to the west founded Ende, a city on the south central coast of Flores. The hills above the city are still inhabited by the Lio people, one of the island’s five major ethnic groups. In the Lio language, tube-shaped skirts are called lawo. Alawo like this one, with bands at the head and foot of the central panel, is called a lawo singi one. The bands of alawo singi one contain complex, coded cultural information, and are always the first parts of the lawo to be completed. The stylized elephants and eight-petal flowers in the central panel derive from Indian patola textiles, which reached Flores in the holds of spice-trading ships. Locals across the southeastern islands believed that patola textiles had magical powers–according to one legend, the fabric would unravel and reform with the waning and waxing of the moon–and often adapted patola designs for their own sacred garments.

  • Woman`s Tubular Skirt
  • 2007
  • Tied and woven by Ita Yusuf
  • Dyed by Ita Yusuf and Bou Sama Sama
  • Onelako village, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 74 x 167 cm. (29 x 66 in)
  • Code # T.FL.BS.158


Semba


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Members of Bou Sama Sama, Ndona, Flores.

Members of Bou Sama Sama, Ndona, Flores.

Locals call both this style of cloth and its motif semba, or ’’gathering to journey together.’’ A traditional community leader, called the mosalaki, would drape a semba over his shoulder during special ceremonies. The weavers who collaborated on this piece call their cooperative Bou Sama Sama, or gathering together. The group includes Christians and Muslims, many with common ancestors, who share their village and their work without regard for religious boundaries. Onelako is part of the greater Ndona region, which circles the city of Ende on the south central coast of Flores. Ndona textiles feature deep and varied shades of red, which take weeks of dyeing and re-dyeing to produce. Fatima Baru has mastered these complex dye processes, and helps manyBou Sama Sama weavers with their dyeing. Fatima dyed the threads for this semba twelve times, but kept the fringe clean and white.

  • Clan Elder`s Shoulder Cloth
  • 2004
  • Tied and woven by Fatima Baru
  • Dyed by Fatima Baru and Asna Ahat
  • Onelako village, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 118 x 224 cm. (46 x 88 in)
  • Code # T.FL.BS.044


Senai


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Threads drying in the sun, Onelako, Flores.

Threads drying in the sun, Onelako, Flores.

Men in Ndona, near Ende in central Flores, wear shoulder cloths like thissenai to festivals and ceremonies. The motif on this senai is called mata rote.Mata simply means motif; rote is a large forest vine, which the locals make into rope. In Ndona, they say that the gods climb between the earth and the spirit world on a ladder made of rotevines.

The Onelako village weavers who produced this piece belong to a cooperative called Bou Sama Sama, or “gathering together.“ Many members of Bou Sama Sama specialize in one task or another area–becoming tyers, dyers, or weavers–and the textiles they produce are collaborative efforts. The group`s dyers colored and re-colored the threads in this senai for weeks to produce deep and varied shades of red.

  • Ceremonial Shoulder Cloth
  • 2006
  • Tied by Jamia Daud
  • Dyed by Ita Yusuf and Bou Sama Sama
  • Woven by Afrida Dua Nina
  • Onelako village, Flores
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 65 x 188 cm. (25.5 x 74 in)
  • Code # T.FL.BS.132