SembaMan's Hip Cloth
This textile is two panels sewn together and is called a semba. It is worn for special ceremonies by the men of Ende in central Flores. It is made from natural dyes which the weavers in this area value over the common use of chemical dyes. Communities along the coast near Ende are both Christian and Muslim with common lineage and ancestors, and live together under shared adat customs.
The natural dye work of this area is extremely complex and involves working with more than 17 different dye plants. The white fringing is a mark of a master dyer. The dye work requires months to complete. The central ikat motif on this textile is called semba which means walking together. Motifs that imply this are often a reference to following the ways of the ancestors as they will protect our journey. A textile with this motif would only be worn by the traditional land overseer or mosalaki.
Warp ikat, commercial cotton, two panels sewn together to make a blanket, twisted fringe, natural dyes. Ikat, tied, dyed and woven by Nona Ahad in Ende Flores, 2020.
221 x 114 cm / 87 x 45 in
Textiles and Their Culture: Adonara Island | Bali Island | Flores Island | Java Island | Kalimantan Island | Lembata Island | Savu & Rai Jua Islands | Sulawesi Island | Sumba Island | Timor Island
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