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spacer ONLINE MUSEUM OF INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES   CURATOR: PETER TEN HOOPEN  BROWSE FROM:  [RANDOM] [001] [025] [050] [075] [100] [125] [150] [175] [200] [225] [250] [275] [293]





    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. Circa 1950. Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Capital Pante Macassar or village in the lower elevations. Atoni people. .
  • 004 WEST TIMOR
    Turban cloth. Warp ikat. 1940-50. Probably made by Atoni people (Atoin meto).
  • 005 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (Blanket). Warp ikat. 1950-1960. Pusu or Lekat, Amanuban.
  • 013 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (blanket). Warp ikat. 1910-1940. Amanuban, largest of the Atoni kingdoms.
  • 031 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. 1940-1950. Niki-Niki region of Amanuban.
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. Early 20th c. Tutuala, Los Palos, Lautem district, Fataluku people, probably Cailoro ratu clan.
  • 081 WEST TIMOR
    Blanket. Warp ikat. 1950-1960. Subun, Western Insana, North Central Timor.
  • 086 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. Circa 1950. Insana .
  • 094 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1940-1955. Probably Manumain B. .
  • 095 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1920-1940. Insana, North Central Timor, near Maubesi.
  • 112 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (blanket). Warp ikat. Circa 1910. Amanuban, largest of the old Atoni kingdoms.
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1930-1950. Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Village in the lower elevations. Atoni people.
  • 120 WEST TIMOR
    Tais mane (blanket). Warp ikat. 1930-1940. Waenopu (eastern part of Timor Barat, Belu Regency).
    Sikal-lau (shawl). Warp ikat. Circa 1950. Tutuala, Los Palos, Lautem district, Fataluku people.
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. 1950. Tutuala, Los Palos, Lautem district, Fataluku people, Jen i La'i Ratu clan.
  • 132 WEST TIMOR
    Selimut (blanket). Warp ikat. 1925-1950. Maubesi, a market village between Insana and Kefamenanu.
  • 133 WEST TIMOR
    Sarong. Warp ikat. 1960. Insana District. Timor Tengah Utara.
  • 137 WEST TIMOR
    Tais mane (blanket). Warp ikat. 1960-1970. Malaka, Belu Regency, Tetun people.
  • 149 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1940-1960. Insana, North Central Timor.
  • 150 WEST TIMOR
    Bete krao (blanket). Warp ikat. 1970. Manulea (Malaka Tengah), Atoin Meto people.
  • 156 WEST TIMOR
    Sarong. Warp ikat. 1925-1945. Malaka/Insana border region. Given the morinda end panels more likely on the Malaka side, though the motifs are typically Insana.
  • 157 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (Blanket). Warp ikat. 19th c. Amanuban: village of Pusu, Lakat, Ofu or Naime hamlet in desa Nule.
  • 159 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (blanket). Warp ikat. First half of the 20th c. Amanatun, a rather isolated part of Timor Tengah Selatan Regency; Bokong village or the Oinlasi area.
  • 162 WEST TIMOR
    Blanket. Warp ikat. Circa 1950. Could be Semau, or Kupang region in Western Timor. .
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1925-1950. Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Village in the lower elevations. Atoni people.
  • 176 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1920-1945. Biboki, Insana district, probably Tamkesi area, in the mountainous spine of Timor. Atoin Meto (Atoni) people.
  • 177 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1940-1955. Biboki, Insana district. Atoin Meto (Atoni) people.
  • 181 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1925-1950. Amanuban or Miomafo.
  • 182 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat and supplementary warp. Circa 1950. Miomafo, Biboki, Insana district, probably from area just north of Kefemenanu; Atoin Meto (Atoni) people.
  • 183 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. Late 19th c. Northern Biboki, Insana district. Tetum people.
  • 186 SEMAU
    Seman baklobe (shawl). Warp ikat. Before 1950. Semau, Helong people.
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1925-1945. Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Unidentified village in the lower elevations, e.g. in Desa Cunha region. Atoni people.
  • 191 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Weft ikat. 1930-1950. Amarasi, Oekabiti clan.
  • 192 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Weft ikat. 1930-1950. Amarasi, Oekabiti clan.
  • 206 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. 1925-1945. Amarasi, Baun people.
  • 207 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. 1920-1940. Amarasi, Oekabiti clan.
  • 208 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. 1950. Amarasi, Atoin Meto people, Oekabiti clan.
  • 215 WEST TIMOR
    Tais koli (shroud). Warp ikat. 1950. Tetun people, probably from Malaka, S.E. Western Timor; possibly from Suai Loro or Camenaça, Cova Lima district, across the border in Timor Leste.
  • 216 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1950-1960. Biboki, Insana district.
  • 224 WEST TIMOR
    Bete krao (blanket). Weft ikat. Late 19th to early 20th c. Manulea (Malaka Tengah), Atoin Meto people.
  • 235 WEST TIMOR
    Fat (blanket). Warp ikat. 19th to early 20th c. Anas region of northern Amanatun.
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. Circa 1920. Suai-Camenaça, Suai-Loro or Camenaša village, Cova Lima District. Tetun people.
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat. 1935-1950. Suai-Camenaça, Suai-Loro or Camenaša village, Cova Lima District. Tetun people.
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. Early 20th c. Ambenu. Taiboko, most likely.
  • 244 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (blanket). Warp ikat. Early 20th c. Amanuban, largest of the old Atoni kingdoms, most likely in Niki-Niki.
  • 245 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (blanket). Warp ikat. 1930-1950. Amanuban .
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1920-1930. Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Capital Pante Macassar or village in the lower elevations. Atoni people.
  • 258 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1900-1930. Niki-Niki in Amanuban most likely, else Insana.
  • 282 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1930-1950. Amanuban, largest of the old Atoni kingdoms.
  • 285 WEST TIMOR
    Tais (sarong). Warp ikat and buna.. Early 20th c. Malaka Timur, Tetun people. .
    Tais duka (shawl). Warp ikat. 1950 or before. Covalima (Cova Lima), Tetun people.
  • 287 WEST TIMOR
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1920-1945. Insana region, perhaps Ainuit village.
  • 289 WEST TIMOR
    Mau (Blanket). Warp ikat. 1930-1950. Amanatun.
    Tais sabu (men's wrap). Warp ikat. 2017. Bobonaro, Kemak people.
    Beti (blanket). Warp ikat. 1950 or before. Ambenu (Ocusi), the East-Timorese exclave in West-Timor. Village in the lower elevations. Atoni people.
    tais halai laran (shawl). Warp ikat. 1940-1950. Covalima (Cova Lima), Tetun people.

Timor Barat and Timor Timur

The name 'Timor', which means 'East' in Malay and related languages ('timur' being the modern spelling), is derived from its location at the eastern extremity of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Politically the island is split in two roughly equal parts, West Timor (bahasa Timor Barat), which is part of the Republic of Indonesia, and East Timur (bahasa Timor Timur), which forms the independent republic of Timor Leste. The two parts of the island had a different colonial past, and a distinct recent history, and have diverged culturally to a fair degree, reasons why we look at the two parts separately. Please refer to our articles on:
  • Timor Barat, West Timor, long part of the Dutch East Indies, in 1949 became integrated into the Republic of Indonesia.
  • Timor Timur, East Timor, a Portuguese colony until 1975, after struggle with Indonesia in 2002 became independent nation of Timor-Leste.
For a cursory trip across the island you can use the interactive map below to go directly to a page with an ikat textile from a specific region on Timor.

Timor - a world of diversity

Timor is markedly different from the rest of Nusa Tenggara. The range of volcanoes, many of them active, that runs through the Indonesian archipelago from Sumatra on eastwards, after Flores veers north to continue in the Moluccas. Timor is by no means flat though. It has a mountainous interior with seven peaks reaching 2500 - 3000 m, and is geologically an extension of Australia of which it once was a part. Its semi-arid climate is also strongly influenced by Australia, marked by an extremely wet rainy season and a very long dry season know to cause lapar biasa, 'common hunger' - one of the few things that the Timorese can truly be said to have in common, as in many respects they show great diversity, which manifests itself in their textiles.
     Only one other island in the Indonesian archipelago (namely Flores) shows more diversity in ikat patterning than Timor, a mountainous island about 500 km long with over twenty different languages. Archaeological finds suggest that Timor was settled by Homo erectus, an early hominoid related to Java Man as early as a million years ago. It received waves of immigration for thousands of years, first by Austro-Melanesians and in the period of 3000 to 1000 BC by Austronesians from Taiwan, who brought with them emblematic practices such as animist beliefs, headhunting, tattooing, the use of barkcloth, agriculture and domestication of animals - mainly pigs and dogs, both of which were on the menu.
Atoni warriors wearing ikat waistcloths

Atoni warriors wearing ikat waistcloths, that appear to indicate Ambenu provenance. [Note the similarity with our PC 169] Early 20th C. Photographer unknown. Collection Tropenmuseum, GPL.

Highland dwellers

Whereas on most islands in the Indonesian archipelago the population is concentrated in coast towns and villages, remarkably, most of the Timorese, especially those of the dominant Atoni stock, prefer the highlands of the interior. Villages were traditionally small to very small, most Timorese preferring to live well away from others who might compete for land use. Many hamlets were built on precarious, hardly accessible locations, that offered protection from slave traders and other enemies.
     Shortly before and after the influx of the Austronesians the island appears to have received waves of Papuan speaking groups. In the period between 1500 and 100 BC There may also have been cultural influences from the Lapita culture of Melanesia and Western Polynesia. A millennium later, between 500 and 100 BC, the North Vietnamese Dong-Son bronze making culture dominated large swaths of the Indonesian archipelago, bringing social stratification, rice cultivation and handicrafts. Many authors mention weaving with the backstrap loom as a Dong-Son legacy, but it is well established by now that weaving came to the Indonesian archipelago thousands of years before. Though the Dongsong culture left many traces on nearby Alor, including finely decorated bronze kettle drums or moko, it is likely to have influenced Timorese only to a limited extent, due to both its peripheral position and its climate, with its long dry period, which allows only one rice crop per year.
     In the first seven centuries AD the Indianized Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms on Sumatra and Java must have made a cultural impact, though again, only to a limited extent due to Timor's remote position. The same applies to the Islamic influences exerted from the 13th C. onwards by the sultanates of the nearby Moluccas, which were attenuated not just by geography, but from 1520 onwards also by the Portuguese and Dutch colonial masters who fought over the island for centuries, but agreed on one thing: they preferred their subjects Christian, and encouraged migration to Timor of converted peoples whom they considered loyal subjects. These included so-called Topasses, people of mixed Portuguese and Asian blood, many from Eastern Flores.
     The Dutch, who took control of the western portion of Timor in 1613, also shipped over Rotinese, from the small island just west of the western tip of Timor, and Savunese from a tiny island in the Savu Sea further west. The Rotinese and Savunese had been Christianized by the Dutch early in the 17th C., and due to competition between the local nobles as to who could build the better schools, received a solid education that made them ideal civil servants. For several centuries they were the de facto shapers of Timorese society.

Identity remains locally rooted

Timor has long been on the trading map, originally because of its fabled sandalwood (which diminished sharply in the 1920s due to over-harvesting) and beeswax, later also because of its indigo which the Dutch forced the islanders to cultivate for export to India and other Asian lands. As a result, the ports of Kupang in West Timor and Dili in East Timor have always received an influx of foreign traders, such as Arabs, Chinese, Buginese and Macassans, who further enriched the cultural mix that is Timor. There is also a strong Papuan influence, especially in East Timor.
     Most of the Timorese still speak their local language, but are also fluent in Bahasa Indonesia (in the West) or Portuguese (in the East). Due to the cultural diversity and the rough terrain which has always limited communication, there has never existed a 'Timorese' identity. Most Timorese still identify themselves by historical origin: the old kingdom they hail from, and their clan background - which even today are immediately identifiable by the textiles they wear. Unfortunately nearly all ikat made on Timor today relies heavily on the chemical industry. Traders who scour the island for 'full asli' ikat, nagging the old people to surrender their last remaining adat pieces, report coming up dry on most of their trips and may soon give up.



Please refer to the sections on the two parts of the island.

Map of Timor - Interactive

Click on marked areas to jump to one particular example from the respective village or region. Note that there may be more specimens from the same region, but the link will go to just one example.

Amanuban Ambenu Subun Malaka Maubesi Insana Waenopu Niki Niki Manufui Los Palos

©Peter ten Hoopen, 2018. All rights reserved.


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