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An image of Hinggi (man's shawl) with stylised design of human figures by
Alternate image of Hinggi (man's shawl) with stylised design of human figures by

East Sumba, Indonesia

Hinggi (man's shawl) with stylised design of human figures
Place of origin
East SumbaIndonesia
circa 1970
Media category
Materials used
Ikat, cotton and natural dyes; warp ikat with supplementary weft patterning and braided ends

125.0 x 282.0 cm

Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2003
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

As in many parts of Indonesia, in Sumba textiles represent one of the most significant artforms. The most fully developed textile tradition existed in the East of the island where where textiles were made to fulfil ritual, ceremonial and everyday functions. One of the most distinctive Sumbanese cloths is the 'hinggi' or man's shawl or mantle, a very large cloth decorated with bold designs in a warp ikat, and often with supplementary weft patterning. This cloth is decorated with a design of 'archaic' human figures with a supplementary star pattern suggestive of the patola design.

Hinggi are distinguished by their bold figurative designs of frontally standing figures, ‘skull trees’, and other more enigmatic figurative motifs. Reflecting the head hunting culture, textile designs incorporated images of severed skulls which were believed to generate fertility and prosperity.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2006.

Bibliography (4)

Mattiebelle Gittinger, Splendid symbols: textiles and tradition in Indonesia, Singapore, 1990.

Robyn Maxwell, Textiles of Southeast Asia : tradition, trade and transformation, Canberra, 1990.

Jes A. Therik, Tenun ikat dari Timur: keindahan anggun warisan leluhur = Ikat in eastern archipelago: an esoteric beauty of ancestral entity, Jogjakarta, 1989.

Wanda Warming and Michael Gaworski, The world of Indonesian textiles, Japan, 1981.

Exhibition history (1)

Symbols and Ceremonies: Indonesian Textile Traditions, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Apr 2006–28 May 2006