The Marapu pillow is a very extraordinary and superbly woven textile from the island of Sumba, Indonesia. The mythical figure of Marapu, as depicted in this pillow, is the first deified ancestor from whom protection is invaluable to the people of Sumba. This incredible textile treasure was gifted to me from the fair trade organization of Mitra Bali, in Bali, Indonesia. This one-of-a-kind sturdy pillow will be the focal point of any room whether is nestles in a chair or is used as a floor cushion.
24” x 24” (61 cm x 61 cm)
Front - cotton
Back - linen, in turquoise
Polyester pillow insert
Fabric origin: Indonesia
A backstrap loom was used to weave a supplementary warp and weft techniques to create this intricate depiction of Marapu, the first deified ancestor from whom protection is invaluable. The natural dyes are indigo and red from the morinda tree. Traditional Sumba weaving celebrates ceremonial and mythical figures using the Pahikung technique. Twisted fringe decorates the center. I left the piece unlined to allow the owner to see the incredible weaving on the underside of this piece. It is as beautiful as the front and a treasure to own.
Mitra Bali, a fair trade organization located in Bali, Indonesia, markets a few of these weavings made by a small group of women in Sumba. I have worked with Mitra Bali for many years and have visited often. In 1992, I traveled to Indonesia as a consultant on behalf of Serrv International and was guided around Java by Agung Alit whom I recall telling me about this fair trade organization he wanted to start in Bali. A few years later, Mitra Bali was founded.