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Selimut


Timor Island. Amanuban
Atoni people
Handspun cotton, commercial cotton, mostly natural dyes
184 × 94 cm
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Inv. T.14.008

This beautiful ceremonial blanket is a typical man's cloth (mau) of Amanuban. Its central band is done in handspun yarn and natural dyes, and depicts a predominant motif of sixteen angular anthropomorphic figures of different sizes, most probably ancestors or divinities. The four great ones, with long tails, bore each one a small figure in their womb and carry two others on their shoulders, while geometrical motifs fill out ground. The central band is flanked by two wide bands in commercial yarn (benang toko), mostly in stripes of red and yellow.

Similar ikat to this are shown in Textiles of West Timor (fig. 84) and in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. no. 1998.481.17), while an important reference for its distinctive decorative style depicting such kind of anthropomorphic figures can be found in a man's selimut of the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston (inv. no. 1982.230).

This blanket is certainly a rare specimen, with a composition of the patterns that mix diagonal lines with vertical and horizontal lines, creating a nice blend of power and dynamics.

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