Size: 48 x 111 in (122 x 282 cm), 1180g
Provenance: Sumba, Indonesia; mid 20th Century
Method: Handspun and commercial cotton, hand woven, vegetable dyes, warp ikat and twining. The colors in the piece are ecru (natural cotton color), the prized kombu red from the mengkudu tree and indigo. The dark background color is red over-dyed with indigo.
Description: The dyeing of the cotton itself takes between 6 to 12 months before the weaving begins. Like all Sumba ikat hinggi, the textile is constructed from two long identical panels hand-stitched together along the warp to form a double width. This width is limited by the size of the backstrap loom that is used in traditional weaving. The piece has another special attribute. On most hinggi half the warp ikat is simply mirrored on the other half. This piece has unique designs the length of the warp. The textile is richly decorated with finely detailed human and animal figures.
Use: Sumbanese men wear their hinggi to traditional ceremonies, one folded across the shoulder, the other tied around the waist. Hinggi designs identify each man’s rank in the social order, place him in the proper clan, and help his ancestors to recognize him in the next world. These motifs are arranged in as many as eleven bands of varying width. After death, a man’s body is shrouded with his hinggi.
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.
Condition: Excellent condition