Danerek, H. Stefan
Sopune, Pitu
Danerek, H. Stefan
Danerek, H. Stefan
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Genre: Weaving. Title: 'Weavers’ histories and methods' (3. Lena Paji. b. approx. 1960). Recording and interview with Mrs. Lena Paji, from the village Dutu, Cawalo domain, under the theme 'Weavers’ histories and methods', the first recorded (but not first uploaded) for the series. Apart from this description, this item has both interlinear transcription and a non-literal English translation. Paji tells about her work and life as a weaver, from when she began following her elder sisters as a child until today. Her major influence was her mother, who like most Palu'e women primarily worked with farming/horticulture, but who, also like most women at the time, made good use of her time, for instance spinning cotton when sitting down for a rest from the plantation work. Paji tells of how her parents, when she was becoming an adult, emphasized that she must become skilled at weaving, because otherwise they would be ashamed - as the family's wealth depends on weaving: woven cloths is/was the major item of good exchange in the traditional reciprocal dowry system, given to the wifetakers (peli weta hina) who give masculine goods like pigs and ivory, whereas agricultural produce and cloths are feminine goods. The value of all the feminine goods is not far from the harder value of the masculine goods. Hence, well ikatted and woven cloths can translate to pigs, ivory and money. Paji tells of how she learned how to handspin cotton and dyeing with indigo from the elders, primarily her mother, but also other relatives in the vicinity. She never saw her grandmother or her sisters on her mother's side, but she saw other senior weaving relatives do weaving work. Her in-laws are also weavers, and her older sisters and one younger sister weave. Paji's mother wove only Palu'e cloths and primarily for the exchange of goods, and personal daily and ceremonial wear. Before the 1970s or 1980s the Palu'e did not weave much Flores cloths, which they do now, outnumbering the Palu'e cloths. Also, people did not sell cloths, or very rarely. Today it is common to sell, also to markets on Flores and elsewhere, but Paji only sells few cloths at her own house. Other takeaways from this interview are: Paji first practised weaving as a form of play on an improvised small loom of lontar wood with a small bamboo beater, and a small rack, enough to weave a small shawl. It did not have a string heddle or a heddle rod or a shed roll, but the yarn had to be "chosen" (lifted) as she explains and shows. She began practising ikatting with her elder sisters, beginning with the pattern of linear ikat dots, 'hua wuane'. Later she began with more complicated motifs, until she wove her own cloth, again corrected by her older sisters. The dye method for indigo she explains is the same as described by other senior weavers from other villages/domains, except that they used seawater instead of freshwater (whether rain or taken from plants). The village Dutu is not far from the sea, and the Cawalo domain land reaches the sea. They kept the indigo leaves and branches in a clay pot with rocks on top for 2-3 days, then squeezed the contents and removed the debris, before adding lime chalk. Lime chalk is tested on the fluid in the hand, and it must become blue instantly if the lime is of good quality, which is essential. For the dyeing of red, Paji and the Dutu people use a species of tree that is known but the use of which has not yet been recorded in other villages, the 'Kaju sina' tree. The tree is known by the same name in Sulawesi (Kayu cina) or Tamatte/kayu Jawa, pohon jaran/jaranan ('horse') in West Java, pohon kudo in Central/East Java. In Indonesian it is called Pohon kuda (Horse tree. Lat. Lannea coromandelica). The inner bark gives a brown-red colour, and it can be mixed with the other ingredients used by the Palu'e for the red dye: moro hae (a mangrove), langalidhi leaves, ash water, and loi for the starching (used when overdyeing indigo with the red dye). Paji used kaju sina and lime as a mordant for her recent shawls and sarongs (2022-2023), and the result was pleasing, red, with a slight brown touch, a nuance often called 'méja'. A new finding in this interview is that moro hae can be found in a jungle slope on their land. It probably only exists in a few isolated pockets. Palu'e weavers used to get it from Lio or Sikka on mainland Flores. Paji had also witnessed the use of Morinda, which like moro hae also exists in a few isolated pockets, unknown to most people. The cloth Loka is according to Paji primarily used by the lakimosa family and is used for the ritual planting of mungbeans, and the associated exchange of goods, after which it is stored away again. Recorded in Lena Paji's home, kampong Dutu, Cawalo, with the H4N Zoom and a Sony videocam by SD/Cawa and Pitu Sopune around noon-time 14 Nov -22. Paji's husband was also present and is heard commenting a few times. This annotation work was supported by a Firebird Foundation research grant for the documentation of oral literature and traditional ecological knowledge. See also items SD1-130–SD1-135, which are about traditional methods or processes before weaving, and the newer items SD1-329–330.
Sara Lu'a
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Palu'e, Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia. Recording made in kampong Ko'a, Ko'a domain.
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