--In memory of the late Bunga Yohanis (Papa' Eka)--

In 1999, a group of Toraja people was invited to the traditional Indonesian festival "Pasar Malam" held in The Hague in the Netherlands to introduce the culture of dance, song and textiles. Among them, Bunga Yohanis (left photo), Papa' Eka [*], who later became the owner of Tote Todi, a textile workshop at Rantepao. Toraja.

On the night of the festival, a Dutch man visited Papa Eka, handing him a small woven fabric using a card (Photo 1), and left without giving his name. Papa Eka returned to Toraja and photographed it and then gave it to me when he visited Toraja. The tiny strips of cloth showed an unmistakable and intricate patterning system for the toraja, with the technique of inserting three colors in one card. When I saw this picture, I knew for the first time that there were some people studying Torja card weaving in Holland. That led to my two subsequent visits to Amsterdam and the opportunity to join the circle of card weaving research between Indonesia and Europe.

Very unfortunately, Papa Eka suddenly collapsed in Bali on September 26th last year and became a permanent person. He came to Japan in 1998 and introduced Ikat of Toraja at the "Toraja's Fabric Exhibition" held at the Cow Museum in Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture (then Maesawa Town at that time) (Photo 2). His achievements were founded in Rantepao, a tourist mecca of Sulawesi, Indonesia, by gathering weavers from the Kalumpang region of West Sulawesi Province and establishing an Ikat workshop (named Todi). It was developed and made known to the world. We regret the death of the person who painted the era of Toraja textile, and express our heartfelt condolences.

(Keiko Kusakabe, July 4, 2014)

*"Daddy Eka" means Eka's father. In Toraja, after getting married and having a child, parents are called by the name of their first child. In social anthropology, such a naming practice is called teknonymy.

Photo 1 (left): A photo taken by Mr. Bunga Yohanis of a narrow fabric (card weave) prototyped by a Dutch man.
Photo 2 (right): Mr. Bunga Yohanis performing a weaving of Ikat at the "Toraja cloth exhibition" at the "Cow Museum" in Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture in 1998.