By Jill Forshee
Textiles have lengthy been critical to the social lifestyles and cosmology of the folk of East Sumba, Indonesia. In fresh many years, the Sumbanese have entered a bigger global financial system as their textiles have joined the commodity move of a global "ethnic arts" marketplace, inspired by means of Indonesia's vacationer exchange. As Sumba's villagers reply to an immensely multiplied trade of their textile, tensions and ironies emerge among ancient and cutting edge kinds in either textile and lives. utilizing a story method, Jill Forshee takes readers into diversified lives, together with these of villagers touring to Bali and travelers traveling Sumba, and follows their adventures alongside numerous routes over the years. via own tales of these serious about the modern construction and exchange of neighborhood textile, a brilliant account emerges of the internal workings of a so-called "traditional" society and its arts responding inventively to a long time of foreign accumulating. those tales extend anthropological recommendations of the obstacles of areas and the certainties of cultures in ways in which are tangible and quick to the reader. in addition, the publication illuminates a few previously unexplored stipulations of inventive provenance.
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Extra info for Between the Folds: Stories of Cloth, Lives, and Travels from Sumba
Joel Kuipers (1990b) has discussed how, in the Wéyewa area of western Sumba, calamities (podda) often reinforce convictions in the importance of ritual obligations. Injurious falls, strikes of lightning, or serious illness are consequences of an individual’s deviating from needs of the clan and ancestors. In eastern Sumba as well, misfortunes befall those who break essential bonds and sometimes motivate people to religious conversion in search of alternative powers. ) it promises. Balancing concepts of maju with historical ideology and social practice can be a demanding task in East Sumba—and people tackle this in diverse manners, as we will see.
The numerous sojourns that facilitate the flow of fabrics to distant places are evidence of this new importance. Throughout the past, the nobility of East Sumba adopted foreign motifs into its own royal regalia as emblems of alliances with outsiders. In this way, regal symbols such as the heraldic lion from the Dutch coat of arms, the schematic patola designs from Indian trade cloths, and ENFOLDING HISTORY AND FLUX Figure 15. Aquatic and amphibious creatures from Rende. 43 sinewy dragons from Chinese porcelain entered Sumbanese design fields.
Gregory Forth notes the particular value the eastern Sumbanese attach to place and to staying in place, and how this is consistent with the highly ascriptive nature of their society (1991b:72). Such ideas of place persist with many villagers; yet as people increasingly move about the island by way of public transport, travel away from Sumba, or encounter foreigners, their “grids” become less consistent. 15 Nonetheless, there is tenacious conviction among people in East Sumba in the powers of specifically local spirits and natural omens, as well as ubiquitous fear of malign magic (mamarung) inflicted by mortals.