early 1900s

Cotton, ikat dyed

Overall: 239.4 x 117.2 cm (94 1/4 x 46 1/8 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Martha G. Thomas 1981.217



On the Indonesian island of Sumba, hinggi were one of two types of textiles that were worn for ritual ceremonies and used as exchange gifts required on occasions of birth, marriage, or death. Traditionally, their designs reflect the religious and social structure of Sumbanese culture. The abstract motif in the center of this mantle represents an open shellfish, symbolic of royal power. The crocodile, seen here in the red bands to either side of the central band, is also associated with royal power as well as with Sumbanese mythology of the afterlife. The larger, standing male figures wearing horned headdresses are an extremely ancient motif, going back to the Neolithic period.

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