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Woven Languages: Ikat Textiles in Lisbon

‘Woven Languages: Indonesian Ikat Textiles from the Peter ten Hoopen Collection’ has just opened at the Museo do Oriente, Lisbon, 23 October 2014–25 January 2015. 

Patola (detail), India, Gujarat, 1750–1800, silk, one panel, 1.04m x 4.51m (3'5" x 4'10"). The ‘Great Parade’ of elephants is considered to be the most important and spectacular design found on patola, and features on the cover of the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition

Patola, India, Gujarat, 1750–1800, silk, one panel, 1.04m x 4.51m (3’5″ x 4’10”). The ‘Great Parade’ of elephants is considered to be the most important and spectacular design found on Indian patola, which had a great influence on Indonesian ikat textiles

The majority of exhibits here come from Peter ten Hoopen’s ‘Pusaka Collection’ of Indonesian ikats, which he has collated since the 1970s, supplemented with a few loans from museum collections. The exhibition offers an important overview of a disappearing art form. Ikat cloths are still being made in some regions of Indonesia, but the strict traditional practices, rules and taboos that in the past made the cloths a source of societal pride and spiritual connection are being forgotten. The broad range on show in Lisbon provides an opportunity to take in the integral languages and local dialects encrypted within the motifs and patterns of the older cloths. For further information and a full review, see the current HALI, issue 181

Sarong Solor Archipelago, Alor, Bird’s Head Peninsula, 1920–1950. Cotton, two panels, 0.58m x 1.19m (11'1" x 3"11"). This piece has an unusual overall colour for its type with motifs that are reminiscent of ikan pari stingray. The collector bid on this piece at auction thinking that it was a rare Tanimbar textile. However, following his purchase, he came across a photograph that he had taken in 1981 in the Adang-speaking part of the Kabola Peninsular, Alor; it shows an elderly lady wearing a sarong with this so-far-unique design (next photo)

Sarong, Solor Archipelago, Alor, Bird’s Head Peninsula, 1920–1950. Cotton, two panels, 0.58m x 1.19m (11’1″ x 3″11″). This piece has an unusual overall colour for its type with motifs that are reminiscent of ikan pari stingray. The collector bid on this piece at auction thinking that it was a rare Tanimbar textile. However, following his purchase, he came across a photograph that he had taken in 1981 in the Adang-speaking part of the Kabola Peninsula, Alor; it shows an elderly lady wearing a sarong with this so-far-unique design

A photograph Peter ten Hoopen took in 1981 in the Adang-speaking part of the Kabola Peninsular, Alor; it shows an elderly lady wearing a sarong with a so-far-unique design (previous photo)

A photograph taken by Peter ten Hoopen in 1981 in the Adang-speaking part of the Kabola Peninsular, Alor;, showing an elderly woman wearing a sarong with a ‘unique’ design (previous photo)

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