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2 / Dreams and Visions

“Sisilia Sii–Weaver”
“Sisilia Sii–Weaver”
Artist / Origin Flores Island, Indonesia
Region: Oceania
Date 20th century
Material Video still
Credit Courtesy of the Fowler Museum at UCLA

expert perspective

Roy W. HamiltonCurator for Asian and Pacific Collections, Fowler Museum at UCLA

Additional Resources

“Sisilia Sii – Weaver.” In Intersections Media Gallery. Fowler Museum at UCLA Web site. http://collections.fowler.ucla.edu/mwebcgi/mweb.exe?request=record;id=500103;type=601.

Gittinger, Mattiebelle. Splendid Symbols: Textiles and Traditions in Indonesia. Washington, D.C.: The Textile Museum, 1979.

Hamilton, Roy W., and Ruth Barnes. Gift of the Cotton Maiden: Textiles of Flores and the Solor Islands. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, 1994.

Thompson, Angela. Textiles of South-East Asia. Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Crowood, 2008.

“Sisilia Sii–Weaver”

» Flores Island, Indonesia

Sisilia Sii, a weaver on the island of Flores in Indonesia, creates traditional textiles using the ikat method, a process than involves months of complex work to complete a single cloth.

Intricate patterns are created through the tying together of cotton fibers and the application of plant-based indigo and morina dyes.

Sisilia’s mother taught her the arts of weaving and tying, but at the time of her mother’s death she still had two patterns—the nggaja and sémba—to learn. According to custom, these particular patterns were restricted to women of senior standing in the community, and Sisilia had not yet achieved that status.

In Flores, it is believed that spirit guardians appear to weavers in their dreams to guide them in the creation of specific patterns. Sisilia describes how her deceased mother later appeared to her in a dream to teach her how to tie the nggaja and sémba patterns, finally granting her the permission to make them herself. Thus, an encounter in the dream world helped ensure the continuation of indigenous weaving traditions from one generation to the next.


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