Palu’e Ikat: Nomenclature and Iconography

This, our first, published article on Palu’e ikat explores the theme of iconography and nomenclatures, both the imagery and the interpretation, and how the naming relates to those. It includes a lot of general information because it also presents the documentation. Perhaps we had not chosen this theme if we already knew that most of the reference literature have run into the same problem as we did, that “the weavers have forgotten the meaning of their patterns”, which became an issue of general anthropological interest that we also explore. For this article we explored several angles, including side tracks which had little or no use in the end. We are very curious about how the first ikat weaving on the island looked like and where it came from, but this is not yet possible to establish. The most likely source is Flores. There are Palu’e origin myths or oral histories that tell of a migration from Roja, Ende on Flores, a Lio or Ende (proto-)group, but Palu’e ikat has very little in common with the Ende cloths we know since the 1800s, which are three-paneled, three weavings give two cloths. Perhaps those groups several hundred years ago produced a more simple ikat than today’s patola inspired weaving. Who knows, anyhow the Palu’e have remained and developed within what can be called a more ancient design format with stippled white motifs on a blackish background with red stripes.

The article went up 30 Nov -20, but it says 2021, probably because the print version is published after New Year. Available here: or request a PDF-file.


Wiwi ca réta ca'i liru, lema lawa lae ceré no'o tana