We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


man's cloth

20th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    selimut (blanket)
    Place where the work was made
    Savu East Nusa Tenggara Lesser Sunda Islands Indonesia
    20th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    cotton, natural dyes; warp 'ikat'
    81.5 x 174.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Bequest of Alex Biancardi 2000
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Copyright reserved

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    This warp 'ikat' decorated cloth originated from the tiny island of Savu whose people are tenaciously proud of their tradition. These people have a fairly conservative, complex and hierarchical social structure, divided into clans aligned to one of two female groups that control life-crisis rituals. These two groups are known as the 'Greater and Lesser Blossoms'. This textile is worn by men as waist or hip wrappers, wrapped around the chest or draped over the shoulder. The cloth conforms to a banded design, however, it is decorated according to a most traditional design known as 'boda' and 'kekamahaba' (Savu flower and zig-zag). It is worn by someone belonging to the 'Greater Blossom' clan and such a design is regarded as the exclusive property of this clan.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2000

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications