Sekomandi cloths have always been highly prestigious; in the past, a single piece could command the price of several buffalo, which only the wealthiest families could afford. Over the last two decades however, urbanization and migration have resulted in a drop in local demand, leading many sekomandi weavers to abandon traditional techniques and cut costs by switching to synthetic dyes.
Fortunately, cloths of this superb quality are a testament to Threads of Life’s successful work reviving traditional natural dye techniques in areas of Toraja and restoring the sekomandi textile to its unquestionable prestige.
The ikat motif depicted on this cloth is tobo alang which is a reference to the rice barn where the agricultural wealth of a family is stored. Every traditional tokonan house has a facing rice barn — they are a pair, a statement of the interrelated importance of people and land.
Warp ikat, two panels stitched together with open fringe, commercial cotton, natural dyes.
Made in Karutaun, Sulawesi, 2016.
224 x 113 cm / 88 x 54 in