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The island of Sumba also known as Humba is a small island within the Indonesian archipelago, but is one of the largest islands in the Lesser Sunda Islands, in the East Nusa Tenggara Region of Indonesia. Sumba is one of the most unique places within the Indonesian archipelago, with amazing landscapes, distinctive culture and beliefs, and exceptional textile arts that brought me to this island a few years ago.


Whilst culture and tradition around the world are changing and eroding fast, Sumba culture and tradition are very much alive. In a country where Islam is constantly expanding, Sumba remains strong with its Marapu belief. Marapu is a belief that connects the Sumbanese with their ancestral spirits to create a balanced and harmonious life on earth. To maintain their connection to their ancestors and to keep the spirit appeased, elaborate ceremonies and sacrifices are made, despite poverty and hardship.

Sumba, particularly East Sumba, is famous for its warp-ikat weavings. East Sumba Ikat weaving known as Hinggi Ikat textiles, are richly decorated with figurative and abstract geometric designs and is highly desirable among textile collectors and enthusiasts globally. The ikat textiles from the Western part of Sumba are less pictorial but equally beautiful in their designs and colours. I will be sharing more stories separately on Sumba textiles in my blog updates, please explore my other textile stories.


Although I have been connected to many Sumbanese textile artisans since 2014, I only had the chance to visit the island in 2018 for the first time. We are truly grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and understand the culture of Sumba textiles directly from the artisans and their families.

East Sumba Pahikung songket textiles
A nobel Hinggi Ikat from Rende
West Sumba Ikat Motifs

In 2019, I revisited Sumba, exploring the island from East to West, and looking at the weaving processes closely. I am truly grateful to the textile artisans and their families who have allowed me into their homes and provided me with the know-how of Sumba textile culture and tradition.


I hope you will enjoy this short story, as much as I enjoyed the visits to Sumba. We supply several elegant Sumba textiles in our online store. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding these textiles. Thank you 


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