Antique Handspun Hand woven Timor Warp Ikat Tapestry (53" x 20") Made with Handspun Cotton Dyed with Vegetable Dyes. Adorned with Animal Motifs (IRS49) intricate detailed weaving Bride Price Textile

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Rare Antique Timor Ikat Textile, About 90 Years Old. Handwoven on a Backstrap Loom, Made from Handspun Cotton Naturally Dyed with Vegetable Dyes. Rich Colors, Adorned with Animal Motifs, Specific to Royalty, and Geometric Pattern Borders.

Used but in perfect condition (carefully stored for decades)

(Ikat shown on all the photos).

SIZE: 53"L x 20"W


It takes up to two years to complete the production of a full-sized cloth. Pattern desired is bound onto the thread and dyed before weaving. Every district in East Nusa Tenggara has its own patterns and designs. Special motifs will be created for the ceremonies such as special weddings and funerals.

    Because of the great complexity in the techniques used to produce the textiles, especially the highest quality ones such as this one, the cloths created always play important roles in every rite of the Sumba and Timor culture (such as Pasola for example).

 The motifs in a cloth is often geometric, trade-inspired or ethnographic. 

 Throughout the production of textiles, women maintain a tangible link with the mythology of the belief system:  In designing or drawing motifs, the creator must never appear in personification, as that would be sacrilege. Therefore, he is symbolized in familiar shapes, such as stars, serpents, lizards and such.

  The ikat is worn and by the motifs it bears, the educated observer can distinguish whether the wearer belongs to the upper classes of the society or is a commoner)

 Throughout East Nusa Tenggara, ikat textiles were woven using natural dyes and hand-spun cotton. Ikat means to knot or bind and is a dye resist technique.

 The process of making a warp ikat begins with the making of a mock-up of the warp on a warping frame. Sections of neighboring strands are then bound together using lengths of raffia. The length of each knot seals a section of thread and the pattern of knots forms the intended motif. Each binding is tight enough to resist the dyes into which the threads are placed. It is from this tying process that the technique gets its name: In Indonesian and Malay ikat means to knot. Two sets of knots are used to produce the basic three-color design. All knots resist the initial indigo dye and only unknotted areas become blue. After one set of knots has been opened the threads are re-dyed red: this dyes the newly exposed white sections an earthy red, and over-dyes the indigo with red to produce a blue-black. Opening the second set of knots reveals sections of thread that have received neither dye and will be white in the woven textile. A pure blue is obtained by returning the threads to the warping frame and tying a third set of knots over the indigo work before the red dye process begins. To obtain a light blue this must be done part way through the indigo dying process. In traditional work, only natural dyes are used. Blue and red predominate. The indigo blue is from the young leaves of the leguminous indigo plant (indigofera tinctoria). The red is made from the bark of the roots of the morinda tree (morinda citrifolia). Each set of threads receives up to a half-a-dozen applications of each dye. Indigo is only collectable during the annual monsoon when new growth blooms. Conversely, morinda root is harvested during the dry season when the dye-bearing sap retreats into the roots. To achieve a deep saturation of color the dyer will often need to work through several seasons across a number of years. Time consuming though the tying and dyeing processes are, it is the slow curing of the dyes that takes the most time. Dye lots are often stored for many years while waiting for these colors to mature. The weaving itself is done on a continuous-warp backstrap loom. The arrangement of the warp on the loom, around the breast and warp eams, replicates its orientation on the warping frame and recreates the intended pattern. The weft is of a single color and is obscured by the warp as the cloth is woven.

 Weaving of textiles is a social affair and several women in East Nusa Tenggara, especially those living in villages, can still be found weaving on the back verandah of their houses.

 Many mysteries of life are captured in such cloths which, to this day, remain cherished.

 All our collector and rare items come with pages and pages of research about provenance, and with history of the tribes and photos as well, depending on item and whenever possible. When shipping internationally, we group ship multiple purchases to save you money, and find the best rates available. If you have any questions or want to see research conducted on this piece and photos of tribes, let us know