Loan Object
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Woman’s Skirt

16th century

Cotton; continuous warp ikat

91 x 186 cm (35 13/16 x 73 1/4in.)
Robert J. Holmgren and Anita E. Spertus Collection, Promised gift of Thomas Jaffe, B.A. 1971
This textile is exceptional for several reasons. Its date has been established by radiocarbon dating, and it is one of only a few surviving Indonesian textiles from the sixteenth century. It also shows outstanding technical achievements in the precision of ikat knots that make up the patterns, the fineness of the hand-spun cotton, and the evenness of the dye quality. The design features symmetrically repeated ikat bands with scrolls, star shapes, and diamonds. The symmetry is broken at top and bottom. Although the individual motifs are relatively simple, they combine to create a vibrant design. The skirt has three panels woven with a continuous warp, which creates a tubular cloth. When the weaver comes close to completing the circle, the shed and heddle devices make it impossible to insert further weft threads. Usually, the textile is then taken off the loom, cut, and sewn together. Here, however, the circular shape of each panel was completed by manually inserting the remaining weft. This technique is no longer used in Indonesia.
Made in Sulawesi, Indonesia
possibly Minahasa
16th century
Not on view

Ex-collection: Robert J. Holmgren and Anita E. Spertus, New York. First known collector: Syamsuddin (1500)

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.