141.7 x 258.6cm [weft x woven warp]; 288.2cm [warp and tassle]
This very large textile would have been used as a 'hinggi' (man's shawl or 'mantle'), which is one of the most important traditional textiles of Sumba. It would have been worn on important ceremonial occasions and the colouring suggests that it belonged to someone of an aristocratic clan. The textile is decorated with an armorial design of paired lions, an imitation of the Dutch coat of arms and regarded as a symbol of prestige. It is designed in accordance with the idea that a person is able to acquire special powers and qualities of the images depicted on the cloth. The animals are rendered in large scale, a stylistic tendency which suggests that this textile dates to the mid-1970's.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2000
Robyn Maxwell (Australia) (Author), Textiles of Southeast Asia : tradition, trade and transformation, Canberra, 1990.
Sylvia Fraser-Lu (Author), Handwoven textiles of South-East Asia, Singapore, 1988.