Èi or Sarung

Savu Island
Great Blossom society
Handspun cotton, natural dyes
145 × 59 cm
Second half of 20th Century or earlier
Contact for Price
Inv. S.14.001

This long tube skirt is a rare example of sarung (èi) from the Great Blossom (hubi ae) society, which is one of the two matrilineal lineage groups constituting the Savunese People. The dyeing is of three colours traditionally used for this kind of textiles: the white of the cotton, the blue-black of indigo leaves and the red of the roots of the Morinda tree. The colours of Great Blossom weavings are soft, meaning that, ideologically, the Great Blossom embodies masculine attributes. Meanwhile these colours are believed to be the three vital constituents of the body, the “bloods” or “humors” contained in every living being. A stable presence of these three “bloods” corresponds therefore to a cosmic balance.

As shown in few similar sarung published in Indonesische Textilien (fig. 432, 436), Ikat (fig. 101) and Ikats of Savu (fig. 15) and in a specimen conserved in the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston (inv. no. 27.467), this Great Blossom sarung is made up of broad and narrow crosswise bands of geometric motifs and seven small plain bands (ro’a) in blue indigo for each of the two woven lengths hand-sewn together crosswise.

This is a fine specimen of Savunese sarung with precise delineation of the complex motifs depicting the characteristic three lozenges (wokelaku).

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