Threads Of Life

Savu

Kerogo

Kerogo is a traditional basket made from young lontar (Borassus flabellifera) palm leaf. It is used by both Savunese men and women to carry food when they go out to work in their garden. The inner part would be where they would put rice and the top would contain salt or chili pepper to eat with the rice. The string is made from the stem of the lontar and then twinned to make it stronger.

  • Traditional Basket
  • 2014
  • Savu Raijua, Savu
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • Height 18 cm. (7.5 in)
  • Diameter 17 cm. (7 in)
  • Code # A01.SB.HM.031

He Gudu

This traditional hat, He Gudu, worn by men in the village of Mehara in Savu, is made from dried lontar palm leaves (Borassus flabellifera).  When woven tightly the hat will shed water so it can be worn in the rain. The seeds on the top of the hat come from the tree called Nitas (Sterculia foetida) and are said to repel lightning. Threads of Life is working with communities throughout Indonesia to revive cultural arts other than textiles as a means of supporting the tradition and providing livelihood to communities.

  • Traditional Hat
  • 2009
  • Savu Raijua, Savu
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • Height 13 cm. (5.4 in)
  • Diameter 43 cm. (18 in)
  • Code # A01.SB.TR.009

Wo Keriwu Nona

The whimsical decoration called Wo Keriwu Nona is made from lontar palm leaves (Borassus flabellifera). It is used as a decoration in the homes of the Savunese around the main town of Seba.

  • Traditional Wedding Decoration
  • 2009
  • Savu Raijua, Savu
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • Height 27 cm. (11.25 in)
  • Diameter 50 cm. (20.8 in)
  • Code # A01.SB.TR.005

Haba Nginu

Lontar (Borrasus flabellifera) has many applications in Savunese society. The liquid tapped from its infloresence is a highly nutritional daily beverage served from this scoop called Haba Nginu made from the young lontar leaves. The sweet palm water may be cooked into a sugar that is very viscous and stored in clay pots called Eru varying in size of 2 – 30 liters. A family will require a minimum amount of 200 liters as a source of sustanence to take them through the season from November to February when there is no more tapping.

  • Traditional Scoop
  • 2010
  • Savu Raijua, Savu
  • Lontar palm leaf
  • Height 10 cm. (4 in)
  • Width 12 cm. (5 in)
  • Length 15 cm. (6.2 in)
  • Code # A01.SB.TR.018

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Ei Worapi

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Weaver Getreda Kana Koy in front of her home in Ledeunu, Raijua.

Unlike the ei raja and ei ledo textiles of Savu and Raijua, ei worapi textiles are ritually neutral. Ei raja are worn only by women of the hubi ae or ’’greater blosson’’ lineage, while ei ledo are worn by women of the hubi iki or ’’lesser blossom.’’ But ei worapi may be freely worn by anyone, regardless of their descent group.

Ei worapi motifs draw heavily on European influence, which arrived with Christian missionaries in the 19th century. These flowing vegetal forms are quite unlike the geometric clan motifs that dominate ei rajaand ei ledo. It is possible that ei worapi were actually developed when Christianity was introduced, as a way for women to step away from the rigid clan structure and the Jingi Tiu traditional religion. Ei worapimotifs may also include as many as three or four colors, while the other types are limited to two.

  • Woman`s Tubular Sarong
  • 2009
  • Tied, dyed, and woven by Getreda Kana Koy
  • Ledeunu, Raijua
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 59 cm x 158 cm (23 in x 62 in)
  • Code # T01.RJ.LD.040

Ei Raja

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Weaver Helena Jami at her home near Mesara, Savu.

Savunese ceremonial dress for women falls into three main categories: ei raja,ei ledo, and ei worapi. This classic ei raja has six narrow stripes of supplementary warp patterning, a technique called raja in Savu, which appears only ei raja textiles. There are seven narrow stripes of black above and below the central seam, as opposed to four stripes on an ei ledo. The main motif in the large ikat bands at the top and bottom has only two colors, instead of the three colors in the motif of an ei worapi.

Ei raja are worn only by women of theHubi Ae or Greater Blossom lineage. The main motif on this piece is calledkobe, after the betel nut implements used by the king. In the village of Pedarro the people believe that a long time ago a goddess appeared out of the sea carrying a treasure chest. On the chest was a carved motif called kobe. This motif often appears in the Hubi Ae textiles. The motifs in the large bands indicate the wearer’s wini, the smaller division of the Hubi Ae to which she belongs.

  • Woman`s Tubular Skirt
  • 2009
  • Tied, dyed, and woven by Helena Jami
  • Pedarro, Savu
  • Warp ikat and supplementary warp patterning
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 59 cm x 158 cm (23 in x 62 in)
  • Code # T01.SB.TR.135

Ei Pudi Nga Ketaddu

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Collecting sap from lontar flowers, Sumba.

This piece is a study in indigo, and an archetype of Asian style. The tiny island of Rai Jua and its larger neighbor Savu lie slung between Timor and Sumba. The textiles woven by Rai Jua’s neighbors crackle with bright colors, dense geometric patterns, or large zoomorphic pictures. The elegant, understated Rai Juan style breaks sharply from those traditions, and produces pieces with unusual balance and reserve. Ei pudi like this one are almost never sold off the island. Threads of Life receives only one or two each year.

The motif on this piece is called ketaddu, or the flower of the lontarpalm. Rai Juans tap the lontar flower for its sweet milky sap, a vital source of nourishment on an island with rocky soils and an extended dry season, when other crops–such as mung beans, sorghum, and pigeon peas–often fail. Artist Napsiana Ale Hade tied mung beans onto the cloth to produce the white circles.

  • Woman`s Tubular Skirt
  • 2004
  • Tied, dyed, and woven by Napsiana Ale Hade
  • Ledeunu village, Rai Jua
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 53 x 163 cm. (21 x 64 in)
  • Code # T.RJ.LD.001

Ei Ledo Nga Lane

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Members of the Hawu Miha weavers’ cooperative, Savu.

All Savunese are buried wearing their clan motifs, which help their ancestors to identify them in the afterlife. To link the newly dead more closely to their ancestors, ’’recognition’’ pieces like this tube-shaped skirt contain only local materials-handspun thread from local cotton, and red, black, and blue from local dye plants. This layout of bands and patterns is called ei ledo, although this particular piece is unusual. The broad band in the head and foot sections, called lane, normally appears in another layout, called ei worapi. The local jingo tiu religion is strong in Savu, and the traditional priesthood remains vitally important to village life. A group of priests called the mone ama oversees ceremonies for planting, harvesting, tapping the lontar palm, and a multitude of other occasions that fill the Savunese ritual calendar.

  • Woman`s Tubular Skirt
  • 2007
  • Tied, dyed, and woven by Obo Tede Dara
  • Nadawawi village, Savu
  • Warp ikat
  • Handspun cotton, natural dyes
  • 59 x 165 cm. (23 x 65 in)
  • Code # T.SB.HM.005

Hi`i Wo Tallu

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Ice Tede Dara winding thread, Savu.

The name of this textile, hi`i wo tallu, refers to the strings of flowers that run its length. Shoulder cloths are part of men`s ceremonial dress on Savu, a small island to the west of Timor. The Savunese people follow a traditional lunar calendar, which is packed with ceremonies for the local religion, calledjingi tiu. These rituals are overseen by a small group of priests called mone ama, each of whom ministers to a particular aspect of the divine world. One, the deo rai, is the priest of the earth. Another, the apu lodo, is considered a descendent of the sun and oversees the annual lontar palm tree tapping season. The sweet, milky sap of the drought resistant lontar palm(Borassus flabellifer) is a major crop on dry, rocky Savu. Tappers collect the sap in bamboo cups or lontar leaf baskets, and drink it fresh or boil it down into nutritious red-brown sugar.

  • Shoulder Cloth
  • 2007
  • Tied and woven by Luhi Bara
  • Dyed by Kelompok Hawu Miha
  • Nadawawi village, Savu
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 43 x 153 cm. (17 x 60 in)
  • Code # T.SB.HM.033
I have always wondered about the interesting stitching at the head and foot of each Savu sarong textile. This last trip I asked Ina Hale in Namata, who is a member of the Hawu Miha weaver group. She told me that this stitching is calledbunga wurumada. Bunga means decoration or flower andwarumada refers to the head and foot of the textile. It indicates that the weaver has taken responsibility for completing the textile, both technically and ritually. After the textile is taken off the loom, the warp threads are cut and then the two ends are sewn together to create a tube sarong worn by a woman. Before sewing the textile, the weaver must sacrifice a chicken. (more…)

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