Forensic Fashion
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>Costume Studies
>>1901 Sumba warrior 

Subjectwarrior
Culture: Sumbanese
Setting: Sumba late 18th - early 19c





Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)

* Power and Gold 1988 p
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​* Draeger 1972 p
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Sword

* van Zonneveld 2001 p
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* Draeger 1972 p
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Jewelry (Mamuli, Marangga, Mendaka)

* Dallas Museum of Art > Pacific Islands
"The island of Sumba is a mere 190 miles long, yet its eastern and western halves offer dramatic geographic and cultural contrasts.  West Sumba is mountainous, with heavy forests and enough rainfall for farming.  East Sumba, a region of rolling hills and savannahs, is drier and less prosperous agriculturally.  West Sumba is ethnically diverse, with ten regional languages; its social systems are competitive and achievement-oriented.  East Sumba is ethnically unified and has only one language; its distinct social classes once encompassed noble families, free commoners, and slaves.
    "Gold ornaments are important in both areas, but only East Sumba has produced the elaborately decorated textiles for which the island is famous.  Prestigious objects, both locally made and imported, became sacred house treasures, which were stored in the upper reaches of the tall peaked roofs of Sumba's ancestral houses.
    "Traditional beliefs focus strongly on dualism, on the balance of complementary elements: male and female, light and dark, old and young, living and dead.  Human beings cannot communicate directly with divine spirits, but intermediaries serve as bridges between the human and spiritual realms.  The ancestral spirits who own the house treasures -- gold ornaments, textiles, and tortoiseshell combs like those on display -- stand between human beings and deities.  The priest mediates between the raja and the ancestral spirits, often contacting the spirits through the gold objects.
    "The quintessential Sumbanese ritual is the elaborately structured exchange of valuables that accompanies weddings, funerals, feasts, and the transfer of land or property.  Heirloom textiles and jewelry are displayed on these occasions, ancestral spirits are addressed, and sacrifices are offered to secure their blessings.  Textiles and metalwork, especially gold ornaments, were indispensable components in the exchange, metal being the male element in this complementary male-female system, and textiles being the female counterpart."

* Power and Gold 1988 p


Shield

* Draeger 1972 p
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* Benitez & Barbier 2000 p

* van Zonneveld 2001 p
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Cloth

* Dallas Museum of Art > Pacific Islands
"Hinggi were worn on ceremonial occasions, given as gifts of prestige and exchange, and most lavishly used as burial shrouds.  A royal corpse could sometimes be wrapped in as many as one hundred or more blankets, and lay in state for many years before secondary or final burial."

* Early Indonesian textiles 1989 p