Size: 15 x 55 in (39 x 142 cm), about 220 g
Provenance: East Sumba, Indonesia; mid 20th Century
Method: Handwoven cotton, supplementary warp weaving, surface staining, and natural dyes.
Description: Eight humanoid figues with birds and four legged creatures, borders on both sides featuring two bands of opposing triangles. The background is a medium dark bluish-gray. There is a 3 to 4 inch fringe on both ends of the warp.
Use: Sumba textiles were traded between the coastal regions where they were made and the interior, where the making of textiles was proscribed, and many of them were made for the nobility who at one time had the sole right to wear decorated textiles. As prestige clothing and gifts, textiles were used and given in large quantities on ceremonial and ritual occasions. Most women in East Sumba wear sarongs that are decorated with very simple ikat patterns in a monochrome color scheme, or black sarong with embroidered motifs; these contrast with the more dynamic hinggi that women weave for their men. For ceremonial occasions, however, noblewomen may wear a sarong decorated with supplementary warp techniques or the patola ratu sarong. (Warming & Gaworski) These supplementary warp bands for lau were usually made separately then attached to plain woven sarongs. They are also used now as a traditional hanging decoration.
Condition: The textile is in excellent condition.