Man’s shoulder or hip cloth (Hinggi)


Not on view

The island of Sumba in Indonesia is renowned for its technically accomplished and visually dramatic textiles. Impressive works such as this hinggi (man’s shoulder or hip cloth) were prestige garments used as formal attire by Sumba men at important events and ceremonies. Worn in matched sets, one around the hips and a second around the shoulders, cotton dyed hinggi were also an indispensable component of ceremonial gift exchange. Sumba textiles tend in general to be syncretic and heavily indebted to imported imagery. Early trade and interaction amongst the Southeast Asian island archipelagoes meant that small islands close to trade routes were extremely vulnerable to commercial and political manipulation. Nevertheless a few outlying islands such as Sumba which had relatively homogeneous populations and scant economic potential in the eyes of trading Europeans, retained their cultural integrity while still enjoying expansive interrelations with their neighbors. Skillfully interpreting geometric pattern, Sumba weavers were able to preserve trade patterns that were introduced in a Hindu-Buddhist context more than a thousand years prior and innovate. These textile allows us to highlight important narratives pertaining to global trade, encounter and dynamic innovation in the arts of this region.

Man’s shoulder or hip cloth (Hinggi), Cotton ikat dyed textile, Sumba

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