Sumba Ikat Motifs: Human – Part 4

Sumba Island has a lot of diversity, and because of its diversity, Sumba Island is increasingly in demand as a tourist destination, both by foreign and local tourists. There is a tradition on the island of Sumba that until now is still preserved, namely weaving cloth or also known as Ikat. Weaving is an activity that is commonly done by women in Sumba, and then they sell the woven products in the form of fabric in the market or also known as Ikat. As one of the elements of culture that we must help to preserve, the Sumba Ikat motif have different meanings, let’s read more about The Human World motifs:

Human World

The second group is further divided into two, first, the world of humans as individuals, second, humans in their relationships with others (in this case the outside world) which creates historical events, such as relations with India (patula ratu) and the Netherlands (ana mahang).

Sumba Ikat Motifs Tau (Manusia - Human) - Kaliuda Gallery Bali

Sumba Ikat Motifs Tau (Human)

In general, East Sumba ikat fabrics with naturalistic human motifs are completely naked. Surprisingly, the milimongga (giant human) whose existence is only in East Sumba folklore is also used as a cloth motif. Meanwhile, the characters of Umbu Ndilu and Rambu Kahi who dominate the folklore of East Sumba are not exposed in the motifs. Perhaps because the two figures are imaginary, while milimongga is believed to be real, there is even a clan/kabihu who claim to be descendants of milimongga.

What is somewhat exclusive is the katiku kamawa motif. The myth of the fetus of a king’s son who was born prematurely, because it was drawn half the body (torso). Thus the milimongga and katiku kamawa motifs require creative imagination by the designer.

Sumba Ikat Motifs: Human – Part 4

  1. Patuala / Patola

  2. Tau (Human) 

  3. Andungu Katiku Tau (Human Skull Monument) 

1. Patuala / Patola

The Patula Ratu pattern is a continuous geometric pattern, hook, symmetrically harmonious and beautiful. Placed in the middle of the long woven fabric (Kundu Duku). The cloth with the pattern of Patula Ratu can only be worn by priests who carry out duties at the death ceremony of the nobility and kings. The Patula Ratu cloth occupies the highest position in mortality when compared to other patterned clothes. This pattern symbolizes human relations with humans and the environment and guides indigenous peoples to behave according to the order of values and beliefs held.

Patola Bunga

Sumba Ikat Motifs Patola Bunga - Kaliuda Gallery Bali

Sumba Ikat Motifs Patola Bunga

Patola Bunga is one of the derivatives of the Patola motif brought by traders from India. The Flower Patola symbolizes beauty.

Patola Kamba

Sumba Ikat Motifs Patola Kamba - Kaliuda Gallery Bali

Sumba Ikat Motifs Patola Kamba

Another derivative of the Patola symbol is the Patola Kamba which is a symbol of appreciation and towards eternal life. Patola Kamba can also symbolize that something precious is always wrapped in cotton or cloth.

Patola Ratu

Sumba Ikat Motifs Patola Ratu - Kaliuda Gallery Bali

Sumba Ikat Motifs Patola Ratu

Patola Ratu is the last derivative of the Patola symbol, where this symbol can only be used by the Royals.

The Patula Ratu cloth is a Dewangga silk cloth originating from India, bestowed by the Maharaja of Java on the kings of the region in Sumba which is a symbol that the influence of the Madjapahit kingdom is felt in Sumba. In its development, it was reduced to a symbol of the leadership of the nobility and showed the social status of the nobility. Patuala cloth in Sumatra and Java is better known as Cindai or Cinde.

2. Tau (Human) 

This motif is considered to function as a repellent to evil and contains supernatural meanings. Every human being needs recognition, attention, appreciation, and compassion from others. Meanwhile, the Ana Tau (Human) motif, whose limbs are part of several types of animals, means that humans can protect the natural environment, complement each other so that local wisdom can be preserved.

If the motif is a naked human, it symbolizes innocence, loneliness, fear, and poverty. Also depicts humans who are fighting with life in the world and asking God’s mercy for the happiness of their lives.

Human icons are often depicted as a front or side view, either as a whole or in parts such as the face or head. This pattern serves as a repellent to evil or symbolizes ancestors and contains supernatural meanings.

On the one hand, this pattern also states that in the presence of the Creator, nothing is hidden because He, the All-Seeing and All-Hearing, expresses the traditional language called “ninya na mabokulu wua matana, na ma mbalaru kahiluna“. Described as a human with open arms.

3. Andungu Katiku Tau (Human Skull Monument) 

The Andung (Tree of Hayat) motif is a symbol for hanging human heads when returning from war and symbolizing Courage, Heroism, Victory and Victory. Monuments with human skulls stuck in are also quite varied motifs. There is a monument (andungu) with three skulls, seven, twelve to fifteen. This reminds us of the past where the law of the jungle still applies, whoever is strong wins.

Sumba Ikat Motifs Andungu Katiku Tau (Human Skull Monument) - Kaliuda Gallery Bali

Sumba Ikat Motifs Andungu Katiku Tau (Human Skull Monument)

The motif on Sumba woven fabric is not made carelessly. Artisans even get the idea of making motifs through dreams or by looking for inspiration. Therefore, Sumba woven fabric motif is said to have a sacred spiritual value. Every motif made by weavers has a meaning that indicates the character of the wearer of the cloth. Therefore, in ancient times, the work of this woven cloth was only done by one person so that the motifs he or she made were not imitated by people. See you guys in the next and last chapter of our Sumba Ikat Motifs Article “Sumba Ikat Motifs: Human – Part 5”. 


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