Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The secret life of sarongs: Manggarai textiles as super-skins

By Catherine Allerton

Abstract

Studies of Indonesian textiles have predominantly focused on their symbolic and religious aspects, ignoring their everyday use as clothing. This article reveals the sensual, intimate life of Manggarai sarongs as everyday garments, a life that has remained a 'secret' in the academic literature. Sarongs, with their capacities to wrap, protect and hide, accentuate the properties of skin and can therefore be considered 'super-skins'. As artefactual extensions of their wearer's body they absorb substances and intentions, offer comfort at times of upset or illness, and transmit social and emotional messages. As burial objects, sarongs index the close kinship performed in everyday acts of feeding, comforting and protecting. However, there is no single 'social life' or 'career' of a sarong. Instead, sarongs as super-skins have a range of possibilities of becoming, in connection with the varied fates and projects of human lives

Topics: GN Anthropology
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1359183507074560
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:971
Provided by: LSE Research Online
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/971/1... (external link)
  • http://mcu.sagepub.com/ (external link)
  • http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/971/ (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    Citations

    1. (1991). A
    2. (1994). Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell. doi
    3. (1998). Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. doi
    4. (1998). Biographical Objects: How Things Tell the Stories of People’s Lives. doi
    5. (1989). Cloth and Human Experience. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution doi
    6. (2003). Clothing the Pacific. doi
    7. (1994). Gift of the Cotton Maiden: Textiles of Flores and the Solor Islands. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, doi
    8. (2002). Introduction: Questioning Everyday Life’, doi
    9. (2005). Looking Good: Feeling Right – Aesthetics of the Self’, doi
    10. (1971). Playing and Reality. doi
    11. (1993). Seeing Through Clothes. doi
    12. (2004). Shedding Skins: The Materiality of Divestment in India’, doi
    13. (1997). Signs of Recognition: Powers and Hazards of Representation in an Indonesian Society. Berkeley: University of California Press. 37 Kopytoff, Igor doi
    14. (1969). System and Meaning in East Sumba Textile Design: A Study in Traditional Indonesian Art. New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies. doi
    15. (1987). The Anthropology of Cloth’, doi
    16. (1994). The Curse of the Cooked People: Weaving in Northeastern Manggarai’,
    17. (1987). The Everyday and Everydayness,’ doi
    18. (1989). The Ikat Textiles of Lamalera: a Study of an Eastern Indonesian Weaving Tradition. doi
    19. (2004). The Path of Marriage: Journeys and Transformation in Eastern Indonesia’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (BKI) doi
    20. (2003). The Sari. doi
    21. (1979). The Self in Self-Decoration’, Oceania XLIX(4): 241-57. 38 Thomas,
    22. (1989). The Skin Ego. Translated by Chris Turner. New Haven:
    23. (1986). The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: doi
    24. (1980). The Social Skin’, in Jeremy Cherfas and Roger Lewin (eds) Not Work Alone: A Cross-cultural View of Activities Superfluous to Survival, doi
    25. (1992). The Woven Land of Laboya: Socio-cosmic Ideas and Values in West Sumba,
    26. (1971). Touching: the Human Significance of the Skin. doi
    27. Tranberg (2004) ‘The world in dress: anthropological perspectives on clothing, fashion and culture’, doi
    28. (1998). Transformations in the Use of Traditional Textiles of Ngada (Western Flores, Eastern Indonesia): Commercialization, Fashion and Ethnicity’,
    29. (1992). Unstable Images and Second Skins: Artifacts, Exegesis and Assessments in the New Guinea Highlands’, doi
    30. (1992). What Goes Without Saying: the Conceptualization of Zafimaniry Society’, doi
    31. (1989). Why Do Ladies Sing the Blues? Indigo Dyeing, Cloth Production and Gender Symbolism in Kodi’,
    32. (2000). Wild Things: The Material Culture of Everyday Life.
    33. (2002). Women’s Networks in Cloth Production and Exchange in Flores’,
    34. (1993). Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia. doi

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.