Mau Naek man's hip cloth, 2015
Amanatun Selatan, Timor Tengah Selatan, Timor
Commercial cotton, natural dyes, warp ikat
Three panels stitched together with open fringe
100 x 212 cm
Ikat tied, dyed and woven by Antoneta Sae
This man's hip cloth is called a Mau Naek and has a central panal containing an ikat motif dyed with a combination of mud and tannins to achieve a deep black.
The ikat motif is called Atoni, which means ancestor. The ancestor may be represented by a human figure, a crocodile or a frog, all of which are considered challenging motifs to make. The difficulty is spiritual rather than technical, as the ancestral symbols are associated with the powers of fertility and land management. In fact, only Antoneta's lineage can make the motif on this cloth. Her father is one of three Tobe in her community. Together the Tobe are responsible for making sure all planting and harvest ceremonies are performed correctly, particularly those associated with the ancestral clan houses.
Their direct duty is to the royal household in Besikama, which carries overall ritual responsibility for the entire area of the Betun plane up to the mountains.