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Asian art

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Man's shawl or mantle (hinggi) with crayfish and 'coat of arms' design

circa 1970


Unknown Artist


In Sumba, as in many parts of Indonesia, textiles represent one of the most significant art forms. The most fully developed textile tradition existed in the east of the island where textiles were made to fulfil ritual, ceremonial and everyday functions. One of the most distinctive Sumbanese cloths is the hinggi (man's shawl), a very large cloth decorated with bold designs in a warp ikat. Usually a pair is made; one is worn as a sarong, while the other is folded over the shoulder as a long scarf or used as a shawl.

Hinggi are distinguished by their bold figurative designs of frontally standing figures, ‘skull trees’, and other more enigmatic figurative motifs. This example is decorated with various motifs including a crayfish-like animal. 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, April 2016



circa 1970

Media category


Materials used

cotton and natural dyes; warp ikat with supplementary weft patterning and braided ends


114.2 x 274.0 cm


Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2003


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history