Man’s shoulder or hip cloth (hinggi)

Sumba Island artist

Not on view

This finely executed hinggi is in wonderful condition and retains its strong and rich color in bold graphic design elements that flow across the textile in broad bands, each organized symmetrically around a single band at the center. The designs are evenly balanced with two sets of narrow bands at each end that create three principle sections, fringed by a multi-colored fringe at each end. The dynamic design elements are typical of early textiles from the region and include high-status iconography including motifs that relate to the large-scale skull trees (andang) that were positioned at the entrance to villages that were ‘fed’ with the symbolic sustenance of skulls taken from rival clans in headhunting raids and were a signal of the spiritual vitality of the community. The bold and blocky skull tree motifs are interspersed with male ancestral figures, shown with raised arms and open hands, their feet turned outwards. Their inclusion in these textiles indicates the significance and ritual status of these ceremonial textiles. This singular iconography is interspersed with large two pairs of majestic fish-tail dragons with deer horns that face each other amid a wealth of vivid iconography creating a dynamic and highly animated textile. The central band of the textile features a habak or ‘radiating core’ motif, a signal of royalty and an indication of the high-status and rank of the person for whom this textile was woven.

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