W1694 – Taumkessi TTU


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Handwoven by Ibu Joanna Hati who has created this powerful mens blanket or beti-naek (in local Timorese language). The very large central panel is unusual for the area as traditionally weaving from this area have anywhere between 2 and 8 strips of ikat motif that run the length of the blanket. The name of the motif or malak is Kaimnutu motif.

Ibu Joanna lives in the village of Taumkessi near the famed weaving centre of Biboke in TTU West Timor. Woven on a simple backstap loom using all handspun cotton and natural morinda dye to create this 3 colour ikat with a motif that is from the Royal family. Each hook in the motif represents a member of the clan that is ‘hooked’ into the story and each ‘dot’ represents their spiritual guardians.

Permissions were sought in the 1990’s from the King of the regency of TTU in the centre of West Timor to allow some of the royal motifs’ to be woven into textiles that could be offered for sale outside of the royal family. This project was instigated by MAGNT – Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory upon gaining an appreciation of the complex stories behind and intricacy of the weavings created in the Biboke district of TTU. As a result we have a continuing unbroken tradition of work in varying colour densities from the bark of the morinda tree. MAGNT also instigated the planting of morinda trees to enbale the women, apprentice girl weavers to create textiles in both handspun cotton and commercial thread. Handspun cotton texiles are becoming harder to find in Timor as commercial threads make inroads into the regular weaving tradition.

91cm wide x 173cm long.

36″ wide x 68″ long.

See FREIGHT TABLE B at the bottom of category list.

Timorese Textiles are a tradition in their own right. No two weavings are the same as the weaver is not allowed to weave the same “story” twice. Motifs and construction vary from area to area often changing every 2-3km. Woven on a simple backstrap loom using 3 techniques. IKAT meaning to tie and denotes the pieces where the warp thread is tied off to produce the motif or pattern and dyed. LOTIS is supplementary weft weaving where the weft threads are “pulled” through to create a “negative” image on the reverse side. BUNA is where embroidery thread is wrapped into the weft to decorate the weaving. Commercial thread is smoother and thinner than handspun cotton. An amazing reference book has been compiled by Ruth Yeager and Mark Jacobson : Textiles of West Timor ISBN;974-4800-01-1 A worthy and worthwhile treatise. More images available upon request.


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