Threads Of Life



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Tating in a ceremonial procession, Umin, West Kalimantan.

Skill at the loom gives a major boost to a woman’s social status, and women who can weave important ceremonial textiles like this tating make desirable marriage partners. The word tatingrefers to the sound of the decorative bells that hang from these traditional skirts. This tating bears motifs calledlintah ragum and ruit singa naga,designs whose meanings are obscure. Many tating motifs protect the wise-woman who wears them against evil spirits. Until the early 20th century, village wise-women wore tating like this one to welcome warriors home from head-hunting expeditions. Enemy heads contained powerful spirits, which could be controlled only by wrapping them in textiles decorated with protective motifs. Today, there are no more heads, and the images and lore that accompanied head-hunting culture are disappearing. Some designs and their meanings have already been lost.

  • Ceremonial Tubular Skirt
  • 2006
  • Tied, dyed, and woven by Gemping
  • Umin village, West Kalimantan
  • Warp ikat
  • Cotton, natural dyes, beads and shells
  • 60 x 62 cm. (24 x 24.5 in)
  • Code # T.KL.JM.059

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