Special Exhibition

Current Exhibition

The Egami Collection
IKAT : A Story of "Island Cloths" derived from Whales and Salt

January 21, – April 9, 2023

Ms. Tomoko Egami (former professor at Okinawa International University), who specializes in ethnoarchaeology, has continued her research in eastern Indonesia and Okinawa, with the production of salt as one of her themes. The museum has also made use of her research findings in its permanent and special exhibitions on the theme of salt.
This exhibition focuses on ikat (a resist dyeing technique) textiles, created through the involvement of salt as an item of trade, rather than focusing on salt production itself. Along with a collection of ikat textiles, we will also introduce Ms. Egami's research findings, which explore the culture of daily life that is the backdrop for ikat, in three parts.
In Part 1, we will exhibit about 20 ikat pieces collected on the island of Lembata, the main area of Ms. Egami's research. Ikat textiles from Lembata are made by spinning threads from cotton, binding them and dyeing them with dyes obtained from indigo and madder, and then weaving the threads together. These textiles could not have existed without trade over the mountains and sea. In addition to whale meat obtained from traditional whaling practices and salt they produced themselves, the "sea people" of Lamalera Village on Lembata also had the "blessings of the sea", such as lime, which was necessary for dyes. The "mountain people" of Lembata had the "bounty of the mountains", which included indigo and madder, used as dyes, in addition to their staple crops. The forces that continued to drive simple trade between the two were whales and salt.
In Part 2, we will explain the trade supporting ikat on the island and the culture surrounding daily life, through photographs by Ms. Egami and her co-researcher Mr. Kotaro Kojima (a researcher of whaling culture, writer).
In Part 3, we will focus on the diversity of ikat textiles as works of art. About 30 ikat textiles collected by Ms. Egami from throughout eastern Indonesia, where various kinds of ikat textiles are woven in each region, such as the Solor Archipelago, the Alor Archipelago, and the western part of Timor, will be on display, introducing a world of diverse colors and designs.

[General admission fees]

General (Adults and university students)
individual:100yen

Children and pupils of primary, juniorhigh, and high schools
individual:50yen

Visitors over 65 years old ※Please show proof of age when entering.
individual:50yen

※ With age certificate, visitors over 65 years old are admitted for half price.
※ With disability certificate, free admission for disabled persons and one accompanying attendant.

  • photo

    Ikat woven by the women in Lamalera village, Lembata Island(around 1980)

  • photo

    Whale hunting by the men in Lamarela village, Lembata Island (January, 1995)
    Photo: Kotaro Kojima