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Ikat tubeskirt 'turtle', Ternate

Item: Ikat tubeskirt, turtle, P. Ternate, Alor

Size: 50 x 54 in (127 x 137 cm), about 590 g

Provenance: Ternate island, Alor area, Indonesia.

Method: Hand woven warp ikat, hand spun cotton, vegetable dyes, turtle design.


A coarse thread is hand spun from locally grown cotton and dyed with indigo and other natural dyes made from local ingredients. The threads are tied and dyed before the are woven on simple back-strap looms, to produce the traditional turtle, fish and manta ray motifs on sarongs. The tubeskirt or sarong, called tais locally, is tied above the breasts and a selendang is used to cover the shoulders. This sarong is made from two mirroring panels joined together along the edges, and this again joined to create the tube skirt.


The district of Alor lies east of Flores and consists of several small islands such as Alor, Pantar, Ternate, Buaya, and others. Situated at the tip of the string of small islands east of Flores, its people are ethnically and culturally distinct from the islands to the west, Solor, Lembata and Adonara, but share some common textile features. All originally used handspun cotton, natural dyes of red-brown and indigo blue. On Alor ikat is used mainly as clothing, decoration, and it also serves in the system of gift exchanges. In marriage arrangements specific cloths can be asked as part of the belis or dowry, besides the inevitable moko. In some cases they are used as denda or pay off. To make up for an insult or bad behavior one family can ask for a cloth as a means of compensation. After the acceptance of this both parties will consider the problem dealt with.

The fish, turtle and manta ray are popular motifs. The tubeskirt is tied above the breasts and a selendang is used to cover the shoulders. Alor textiles are few in number and hard to find.


The textile is in excellent condition.

Item code: txtl1014 - SOLD!