Utan Wiri WananWoman's Tubular Skirt
On the southern coast of central Flores, the area of Sikka has long been renowned for their highly developed ikat weaving skills. Complex motifs and patterns arranged in highly structured compositions communicate the social identity of both the weaver and the wearer, and every clan is associated with a particular sequencing of ikat motifs. Married women weave motifs learned from their mothers in the design format of their husband’s clan, symbolising the intertwining of kin groups.
This four-part woman’s sarong also referred to as a nipa tea (a reference to the snake-like wavey pattern seen below in the detail) and is the most valuable of gifts offered as bridewealth for wedding ceremonies within the Hewokloang ethnic group. It also features in a fertility ritual called roa muu (“cutting the decorative banana tree”) in which a young man representing the groom’s family dances around a banana tree upon which the utan wiri wanan is hung, slowly cutting the tree into sections with his machete.
Warp ikat, four panels stitched together into tube, commercial cotton, natural dyes.
Made in Sikka, Flores, 2000.
284 x 63 cm / 112 x 25 in