Man's shoulder or hip cloth (hinggi)

DATE:
19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Homespun cotton, natural dyes
CLASSIFICATION:
Textiles
DIMENSIONS:
109 × 33 1/2 in. (2 m 76.86 cm × 85.09 cm) Strainer/Stretcher dimensions: 112 × 38 × 1 3/8 in. (2 m 84.48 cm × 96.52 cm × 3.49 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Arts of the Pacific Islands - Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
1995.94

General Description

The primary motif of this striking hinggi is the skull-tree (andung). The motifs refer to headhunting, which was a widespread practice in Indonesia before its suppression by Dutch colonial officials. In the past, skull-trees were erected in the center of the village, the dead trees stripped of leaves and bark and enclosed in a base of stones. Skulls on the hinggi represent defeated warriors hanging from the trees, symbolizing the future well-being of the community.

The two primary colors of a hinggi are blue (wara) and a rust-colored red, which was highly prized. Red was obtained from the roots of the kambu tree, while blue was extracted from both wild and cultivated indigo. The tan color was daubed on the cloth after weaving was completed. Perhaps this was Sumba's answer to the gilding of cloth that one finds in Sumatra.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2016.