Blue Room





The colour blue derived from indigo as a natural plant dye has for centuries been domestically cultivated and treasured. Valued by centuries old traditional and modern global cultures from Africa to Japan it forms the creative basis for a variety of innovative and enrapturing textiles.  Blue remains an enormously appreciated colour today, and the organic production of indigo continues to be revitalised particularly among contemporary artists, created from raw homespun fibres and used for colouring gradations in weaving and designing.


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Traveling Cape (Bozugappa). Japan.



Influenced by a Portuguese missionary priest coat from the 16th century, this type of coat was initially worn by the military elite until the 18th century, it was then adopted by commoner classes as a travel garment.

The term “bozugappa” derives from the Japanese bozu or priest and kappa borrowed from the Portuguese word for cape.

Deep indigo woven stripes on the outside of the garment, and ikat/kasuri weft yarn patterning on the interior lining.  Comprising sixteen panels laid out in a circular arc with a small upright collar and what is thought to be dear horn buttons.  Between the layers is a paper filling that has been treated to form a warm layer and protect the wearer from rain.



Material: Cotton ikat.

Size: 120cm long.

Circa: 1900.

Item No: 11-347

Blue cloth (Mud cloth). Mali, West Africa.



These distinctive indigo cloths are called Mud cloths because river mud is one of the constituents in the process of making the natural mordants and dye. 

The velvet soft cotton is created using a series of narow and individually woven strips which are then stitched together before the design stage begins.



Material: Cotton cloth with fine weft ikat design.

Size: 140x97cm.

Circa: 1950 or earlier.

Item No: 07-085

Door curtain (Noren). Japan.



Door curtain of two indigo linen panels made from tie-dye technique - Nui Shibori. The artist uses home grown indigo and home spun cotton/hemp. Traditionally Noren are split down the centre. A truly collectible item.


Artist: Shindo Hiroyuki, born 1941. 

Education:Kyoto City University.  Shindo’s work has been included in many exhibition worldwide over the past twenty years, most recently in France, India and Israel. Major Museums such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam,The Art Institute of Chicago, The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Israel Museum have each collected his art.  Since 1997 he has been a professor and head of the textile department of Kyoto College of Art.



Material: Locally grown indigo on natural cotton.

Size: 135x115cm.

Circa: 1980.

Item No: 11-346

Patchwork (boro). Japan.


This blanket with an artful indigo aesthetic is sewn from nineteenth and early twentieth century patches of indigo cotton. Boro textiles are patched and mended indigo rags that developed out of poverty and necessity to save, re-cycle and above-all not waste. In pre-industrial Japan, peasant farmers and fishermen would typically not afford the lavish silk kimonos and obi worn by the elite, instead their clothing was handed down over generations, mended or put together with other fragments. 


Material: Cotton, hemp.

Size: 182x123cm.

Circa: 19th century.

Item No: 017-BLJ1

Quilted rug . Anatolia.


A pretty Anatolian quilted rug, block printed with a prayer arch design.  


Material: Block printed, quilted cotton.

Size: 150 x 80cm.

Circa: First part 20th century.

Item No: 13-354

Shoulder cloth (sayut). Tuban, Java, Indonesia.


A long indigo dyed batik cloth on a white ground made from strong home woven cotton. This type was used to tie carrying baskets onto the back.  The pattern name is laseman - the style is associated with Lasem cloths (Heringa) that carry similar Chinese motifs of bold phoenix and ornamental wings. 


Material: Natural hand-spun cotton - indigo dyes.

Size: 330x63cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 09-163

Shoulder cloth (sayut). Tuban, Java, Indonesia.

A three metre long hand-spun fringed cotton cloth from Tuban. Because of the length its likely use was a carrying cloth for baskets or for a child. The pattern of what appears to be fluttering bird wings is called laseman in the style of Lasem cloths (Heringa). Before the onset of industrial change in the last 20 years, the district of Tuban and surrounding villages produced a variety of batik-dyed hand-wovern cloths using traditional methods and limited technology.


Material: Cotton, woven, dyed.

Size: 3m x 57cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 15-444


Textile Art


Batik was adopted as an art form throughout the Indonesian archipelago, the Javanese being the finest practitioners in this field who took it to great artistic heights. With more than 100 distinguished designs, many of the classical patterns from Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo) are rooted in old Javanese history and culture and carry specific meanings. Later, with the influx of foreign trade, towns along the north coast such as Cirebon, Pekalongan, and Lasem developed more colourful, floral and abstract designs inspired by Dutch, Indian, Arabian and Chinese art broadening the decorative spectrum further. Mostly used as clothing and for ceremony, these elaborate cloths often served as identifiers for status in society. Motifs and their symbolism are largely derived from Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The dyes and colour recipes belonged to distinct areas and contributed to identity and social expression. Created by a labor-intensive procedure of drawing, dyeing and wax application, a single piece could take months to complete - a good batik design would have the pattern equally visible on both sides and be composed of balanced lines and colours in the main field with subtle filling detail in the background.

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Altar cloth (Tok wi). Pekalongan.


A hand-drawn batik gaily coloured on a red and blue cotton base.  The central design contains a mythical lion, surrounded by phoenix and other symbols that are intended to ward off evil. Elaborately decorated altar cloths reflecting elements of Buddhism were important items in Chinese temples and households to ensure prosperity, wealth and well-being. These batik versions were modelled on imported silk and embroidered Tok Wi from China.



Material: Fine cotton batik.

Size: 109x105cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-308

Batik (megamendung). Cirebon.

The emblematic stormy cloud design - megamendung from Cirebon.  The town's artistic development was influenced by the large Chinese community that settled along the north coast of Java.  The pattern takes on a gradation of lines and colours with six shades of blue and grey in the cloud motif.


Material: Fine cotton.

Size: 240x100cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 09-121

Breast cloth (kemben). Yogyakarta.


Kain Kemben are long narrow cloths worn around the chest leaving the shoulders bare, they were worn on special occasion and today it has been replaced by the more modest Kebaya blouse. These two examples came from the Yogyakarta Kraton, decorated with an elongated silk lozenge that is supposed to indicate the wearers’ (marital) status.  Such cloths were also used as ceremonial textiles, to present gifts or make sacrificial offerings.


Left: Yogyakarta. Ornamental design with stylized wings of the Garuda bird. Dyed in soga brown. Size: 240x50cm. circa 1940. Item no:132


Right: Yogyakarta. Motif featuring emblematic wings of the mythical Garuda bird with a background floral pattern in traditional Yogyakarta colors of rich soga brown. Size: 240x50cm. circa 1940. Item no: 133



Material: Hand-drawn on fine cotton with silk field applique.

Item No: 09-132 & 09-133

Breast cloth (Kemben). Yogyakarta, Central Java.

These striking cloths were worn wrapped around the upper body. The border work is hand-drawn (tulis) and wax-resist dyed. The different colour combinations in the elongated field carried significance in early Javanese society though the exact meaning remains unclear. N/A

Material: Cotton.

Size: 260x52cm (purple) 270x52cm (green).

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-309,310

Breast cloth/Selendang . Cirebon, Java, Indonesia.

An exquisite hand-drawn and striking example of a batik from Cirebon. It was possibly worn as a selendang, which is similar but sometimes wider than the kemben, where it is folded lengthways and worn over the shoulder.  

It is intriguing that the motif cuts into the centre of the red field of the cloth, gracefully drawn with a repeating circular vine around abstract shapes. 


Material: Cotton, natural dyes, batik-tulis.

Size: 270x65cm.

Circa: 1940.

Item No: 15-415

Breast cloth (kemben). Yogyakarta, Central Java.

Among the aristocracy of central Java, and prior to the influence of western clothing or the kebaya, women wore a breast cloth wrapped around the chest.

This particular example with the spectacular Kawung motif - is a derivative of the sugar palm fruit, and restricted to the upper classes.


Material: Primissima cotton, batik tulis.

Size: 240x52cm.

Circa: 1940-50.

Item No: 15-420

Breast cloth (Kemben). Yogyakarta.


The classic central Javanese design known as parang has more than forty known variants.  This one being parang rusak consisting of a series of diagonal rows of ivory and brown creating an undulating ribbon effect. Each row separated by a line of dark brown diamond shaped dots and framed in an immaculate floral border design. Parang designs were traditionally reserved for members of the Kraton.

Click image for detail.


Material: cotton tulis.

Size: 228x51 cm.

Circa: 1935.

Item No: 13-379

Head-cloth (Iket-kepala). Cirebon, Java, Indonesia.

A distinctly Cirebon style iket Kepala- head-cloth worn by a man wrapped around the head.  Red centre field is surrounded by elegantly drawn mirong wings of the Garuda bird and dotted all over with small banji motifs in amongst the semen/stylised flora.


Material: Cotton tulis, natural dyes..

Size: 80x80cm.

Circa: Early 20th century .

Item No: 15-431

Headcloth (iket kepala). Solo.

Head-cloth, worn by men on formal occasions. Traditional design with a lozenge shape center called tengahan. Decorated with animals, peacocks and garuda bird wings, the Garuda is the highly worshipped national symbol of Indonesia. Colors: deep indigo and soga brown.

Material: Hand drawn (batik tulis) on fine cotton.

Size: 100x100cm.

Circa: 1940-1950.

Item No: 09-156

Top Left - Banyumas. Floating lotus. c.1940.100x100cm. Item:09-154

Top Right - Yogyakarta. Ornamental birds. c.1940.100x100cm. Item:09-157

Lower Left - Yogyakarta. Black centre field. c.1970.100x100cm. Item:09-143

Lower Right - Banyumas. Floralistic. c.1940.100x100cm. Item:09-155





Item No: 09-154

Hip cloth (kain panjang). Cirebon, Java, Indonesia.

The oval kawung sari motif - representing the fruit of the sugar palm tree is one of the oldest and most famous designs that appear on classical Central Javan batik.  There are a number of variations of the pattern - this one drawn with large ovals is from Cirebon. The motif goes back to at least the 13th century during the Majapahit era (AD 1292-1389) and is found on sculpture and stonework of the Hindu temples of Prambanan, Yogyakarta.


Material: Primissima cotton, batik -tulis.

Size: 245x103cm.

Circa: 1940-50 .

Item No: 15-418

Head Cloth (Iket kepala). Yogyakarta.

Circa: 1935. Item 13-383.

Item No: 13-383

Head-cloth (Iket Kepala). Central Java.

A striking and nowadays rare head-cloth from Yogyakarta.

The yellow tengehan square indicates the region and that it was worn by a Javanese boy for the circumcision ceremony (Djumena in B. Majlis 1991). The border arrangement contains the repeating parang dagger as seen on classical batik from Java, a motif reserved for the courts signifying strength, power and authority. Colours: yellow tengahan square, deep green surrounding field, ivory and soga brown.


Material: Cotton, tulis.

Size: 105x105cm.

Circa: 1940-1950.

Item No: 15-426

Skirt cloth (Kain panjang). Cirebon, Java, Indonesia.

A daring batik drawn with two dominant components, the banji swastika-the symbol of good fortune and the mirong paired wings of the mythical Garuda-emblematic of Indonesia.  The bold placement of the Garuda wings against an entirely covered banji background has a tremendous visual effect. The traditional tumpal edge containing naturalistic elements completes the piece. Not surprising, this batik was worn by a well-known and extrovert Cirebon lady at her wedding. Fine workmanship from one of the finest ateliers in Cirebon. 


Material: Primissima cotton - batik tulis.

Size: 243x104cm.

Circa: 1965-70.

Item No: 15- 416

Sarong . Cirebon, Java, Indonesia.

An eccentric and unusual silk sarong from the coastal town of Cirebon. The dramatic scene drawn in bold colours, blue, ochre, black on a tinted background with wadas rock formations, birds and naga as guardian/protection. Cirebon batik has always had a wide variety of patterns and pictoral scenes that are derived from the powerful courts and the Chinese influence. Has age, small repair.

Material: Silk, tulis.

Size: 100x100cm.

Circa: 1940-1950.

Item No: 15-417

Signed batik (Sarong). Pekalongan, Java.

A delicately drawn sarong from Pekalongan depicting a nature scene of flowers and birds. Charming and tasteful colour combination of great variation - rose, lilac, green, mustard, yellow, turquoise and blue tones. Swirling background foliage, intense isen - fill work and finely drawn repeating florettes along the border. Very good artistry. Signed Njoo Djwan Liem, Pekalongan, a famous batik maker who worked for the highest establishment in Indonesia.


Material: Primissima cotton, hand-drawn tulis.

Size: 105x94cm.

Circa: 1950.

Item No: 15-429

Skirt cloths (sarong). Madura.

Instantly recognisable by their vivid colours and courageous bold patterns, this pair of un-sown Madura sarong are from a limited edition and were produced in the Tanjungbumi district - known for fine batik. The drawings are audacious yet rhythmically executed. The alternating pattern of colours play with nature, here depicting mountains, seas, pointed flowers and foliage.


Material: Cotton.

Size: approx. 200x100 cm.

Circa: 1970.

Item No: 08-124a&b

Sarong . Pekalongan, Java.

A batik sarong signed Hoo Tjoe Kiat Pekalongan. 

Size: 104x99cm.

Circa: 1930-40.

Item No: 13-369

Signed batik sarong (front and back). Pekalongan.

Material: Primissima cotton - tulis.

Size: 106 103cm.

Circa: 1930-1940.

Item No: 13-371

Sarong . Pekalongan, Java.

Birds, butterflies, flowers and friendly insects decorate the main body and front section of this sarong, framed by floral border in pastel colours typical of north-coast batik. Designs were often taken from European horticulture pictures and postcards. Signature in the style of Van Zuylen.


Material: Fine primissima cotton, natural dyes, tulis.

Size: 106x100cm.

Circa: 1930-40.

Item No: 13-372

Skirt cloth (Sarong). Kerek, Java, Indonesia.

The design on this splendid old sarong from the region of Kerek is called 'ganggeng' meaning seaweed. Strands of seaweed encircling sea creatures were depicted on many batiks along the north coast of Java. The triangle tumpal ends are filled with floral motifs and spiky creatures, framed by a narrow border.  CLICK image to see front and back in detail.


Material: Handspun cotton-tulis.

Size: 87 x 79cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 13-375

Shoulder cloth (Selendang). Yogyakarta & Pekalongan.


A fine long cloth in Jelamprang style. The geometric pattern is influenced by the Indian patola recognisable by its repetitive geometric flowers, the Javanese name of this particular motif is sekar dlima. Such highly prized cloths are rare to find these days. Colours blue, brown and white.




Material: Fine cotton - batik tulis.

Size: 255 x 52cm.

Circa: 1935.

Item No: 13-376

Skirt cloth (Kain panjang). Pekalongan.

Worn draped around the waist, this cloth is a lovely combination of north coast and central Javanese styles or dua negri (two countries). The parang (dagger) designs were once a restricted motif for the Javanese nobility. The classic type here is called 'parang rusak' and creates a rhythmic pattern of undulating ribbons.  Dyed in soga brown with diagonal cream coloured rows on a contrasting darker background, and a rust coloured floral border on two sides.  Hand drawn-batik tulis. There's a similar example in Batik Design by Pepin.

Material: Fine cotton.

Size: 264x104cm.

Circa: 1930-40.

Item No: 09-151

Skirt cloth (kain panjang - pagi-sore). Pekalongan.

The contrasting design of pagi-sore (morning-evening) batik is intended for reverse wear in Javanese society. The drawing contains graceful floral, insect and bird imagery set against blue and pink plain background with a diagonal split through the body field (badan). The intricately detailed bouquet borders are beautifully offset with a pale orange down two sides. A finely executed example from a good workshop and probably made for Peranakan clientele. The cotton is waxed and crisp to touch.


Material: Fine waxed cotton.

Size: 242x108cm.

Circa: 1940-1950.

Item No: 10-307

Wall hanging (Wayang). Central Java.

An agricultural scene with Wayang figures from the Hindu-Javanese tradition. Wayang puppets and stories from the Ramayana/Mahabarata are central to Indonesian arts and cultural heritage. Featured here with flowers and birds on a brown ground and blue scalloped border. 


Material: Cotton, painted.

Size: 158x44cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 15-436


Textile Art




Cultural differences, foreign influence and trade stimulus from Dutch, Indian, Chinese, Arab and Javanese shaped the island of Sumatra and were important reasons for the assortment of textile designs, techniques and materials that emerged here. The Javanese found a strong market for batik among the Muslim populations in South Sumatra, notably Jambi, where certain cloths carried designs of stylized Arabic calligraphy. The distinctive geometric and floral patterns found on many textiles including Jambi, were influenced by the precious patola - Indian heritage cloth.

New silk weaving technologies and dye recipes resulted in dramatic textiles and a host of decorative techniques from silk pelangi and ikat cloths of Palembang to the complex brocaded songket skirts of Lampung and Padang - couched entirely in gold yarn. Simple or sophisticated, their variations on cloth are witness to the rich traditions and an enormous cultural diversity.

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Ceremonal skirt cloth (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people.


An opulent example of a ladies ceremonial skirt cloth (tapis) from the Lampung region.

Between the ochre and brown horizontal stripes the dense gold threads and appliqued sequins create an ostentatious shimmering effect.

Textile production in the rich maritime area of Lampung are of the highest quality and were symbols of wealth and prestige. This piece is coming from a German private collection.

Literature: published in Khan Majlis. B, 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel


Material: Cotton, silk, metal threads and appliqué mica.

Size: 124x120cm.

Circa: Around 1900.

Item No: 017-BLS81

Ceremonial shawl (Lawon). Palembang, Sumatra.

Lawons were presentation shawls, customarily given at weddings.

This example has a deep aubergine coloured centre with a cream tritik frame and reddish surrounding field. A twine band is attached along the borders and the short ends are finished with tassles. 



Material: Silk, metal twine.

Size: 218x75cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS51

Ceremonial shawl (Lawon). Palembang, Sumatra.

A simple yet impactful geometric design achieved by the plangi tie-dye technique.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed.

Size: 171x67cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS56

Ceremonial shawl/hip cloth (Kain Limar). Bangka, Sumatra, Indonesia.

A impeccably woven limar, made up of glorious floralistic elements in the main field and traditional tumpal ends intricately brocaded with gold thread. Making such cloths requires immense skill and placement of colour to successfully achieve the fine patterning. The deep red foundation colour is typical on limar, but it is the warm yellow colourant that is characteristic of those from Bangka island. German private collection.

Material: Silk, metal thread brocade.

Size: 220x87cm.

Circa: Late 19th or early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS70

Ceremonial shawl (Lawon). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

The art of making these shawls requires a combination of pelangi (tie-dye) and tritik (stitch-dye) technique to create the desired rectangular pattern.  Today they are very popular hung in a contemporary environment where they make a striking minimalist and bold impact, reminiscent of Mark Rothko paintings.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, tritik.

Size: 200x96cm.

Circa: Early 20th century .

Item No: 15-432

Ceremonial sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people, Sumatra.


These warp-striped cotton tubular skirts embellished with gold embroidery were the distinctive garment of ladies of Lampung. They added splendour to social occasions and were indicators of the wearers' ethnic identity and social status. German private collection.



Material: Cotton, metal thread.

Size: 116x56cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS74

Ceremonial sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people.


Tubular skirt cloth of cotton warp stripes designed with couched gilt-metal thread. The use of gold thread couching was a prominent decorative feature in ceremonial clothing of the Abung. Richly adorned cloths signified prosperity and noble status.


The Lampung region prospered greatly from its trade in spices (black pepper) thus creating a stratified society. During their numerous elaborate ceremonies (marriage, birth, death and circumcisions) lavish costumes were displayed. 


Material: Cotton, metallic yarns.

Size: 120x116cm.

Circa: First part 20th c.

Item No: 09-203

Ceremonial sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people, Sumatra.


The Abung people of Lampung had a rich culture often holding elaborate feasts and ceremonies where heavily embellished costumes showed off their prosperity and were paraded accordingly.  The shimmering tubular tapis is traditionally worn around the waist, secured with a belt with a selendang wrapped over the shoulders.  Warp faced plain weave, embroidered and couched with gilt-metal wrapped cotton with triangular and diamond patterns on a cotton base of brown, blue and red coloured stripes.


Material: Cotton, metallic yarns .

Size: 122x56cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 11-342

Ceremonial sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people.


These gold embellished sarongs belonged to wealthy women in Sumatra and were worn during feasts and ceremonies associated with the life cycles/rites.  They would add splendour to the occasion by showing off these luxurious garments along with a complimentary selendang shoulder cloth that is similarly embellished.  


This old one has been opened, and is sewn from two panels of woven cotton with stripes of earth brown, ochre and blue then embroidered with gold twine, mirrored sequins.  Design of bird motifs, diamonds and zig zag patterns. CLICK image to see detail

Material: Cotton, metallic yarns .

Size: 110x104cm.

Circa: 1900.

Item No: 11-343

Ceremonial cloth (Selendang). Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia.

A striking cotton shawl probably made for Malay clientele and used for a wedding ceremony.

Material: Cotton, woven, dyed.

Size: 200x74cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 15-442

Festival sarong (Sarong Tapi Bumin). Sumatra.

The artists design on this festive sarong is quite stunning, with a bright colour palette, lovely detailing on the kepala and alternating colour decoration along the border. Another marvellous example can be found in the collection of Don Harper, East Indies Museum.

Material: Silk, tie-dyed, tritik.

Size: 187x104cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS60

Head and shoulder cloth (selendang). Jambi .

Long rectangular cloths executed with a large central lozenge are known as selendang bersidang. Coloured in cream and blue, they are a typical style of Jambi cloth. The lozenge is filled with swirling leaf pattern surrounded by the regular field pattern of coiled florets framed in a triple border design. Wax resist and hand-drawn-batik tulis.


Material: Fine cotton.

Size: 180x88cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 09-208

Headcloth (Iket kepala). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

The square head-cloth was widely used by men in many parts of Southeast Asia as a garment of formal and everyday wear. It is tied in a variety of ways to denote one's rank or place of origin. The Malay population of Palembang wore particularly decorative examples. (Maxwell.R. 1990.p 307-309). The central field of weft-ikat - limar, combined with gold thread supplementary weave - songket is of a superb quality.  The field design represents the mythical Garuda and the mount of the Hindu god Vishnu, imagery of classical Javanese batik patterns. From a private German collection.

Literature: published in Khan Majlis. B 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel


Material: Silk, gold metallic thread, weft-ikat, songket brocade.

Size: 88x87cm.

Circa: Early 20th centuryl.

Item No: 017-BLS43

Headcloth (Iket kepala). Jambi.

An extremely fine man's headcloth. Iket kepala are traditionally folded into shape and worn in a turban like fashion. The batik design is first executed on the cloth and then enhanced in a layer of gold leaf - a technique known as batik prada


Material: Fine cotton.

Size: 92x88cm.

Circa: Late19th/early 20th c.

Item No: 09-206

Headcloth (Iket Kepala). Palembang.


A very old and fine silk head-dress that was once worn by a Sumatran man on formal occasions.  The red borders are supplementary weft patterned in gold thread known in South East Asia as songket. It comes from an old German collection.


Material: Cotton with gold yarn.

Size: 88x88cm.

Circa: 1900.

Item No: 11-344

Kain songket (Sarong). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

Some of the most coveted, valuable and visually appealing cloths in Indonesia are the songket weavings of Palembang. It takes suberb skill and artistry to produce one of these rich cloths hence they are held in great esteem amongst people from this wealthy province.

This excellent example of one such fine quality cloth is made from natural dyes and real gold-wrapped yarn covering the entire kepala (front section) and a gold rosette arrangement in the main field. Nowadays the gold thread is frequently transferred from old garments into new songket.



Material: Silk, supplementary weft embroidery, metallic yarn.

Size: 86x80cm.

Circa: Circa 1910.

Item No: 15-412

Ceremonial shawl (Lawon). Palembang.


A fine example of a Lawon from Palembang in south Sumatra. Rich aubergine and purple colours with a metallic twine decoration surrounding all borders.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed..

Size: 190x73cm.

Circa: 1940.

Item No: 15-410

Lawon ceremonial shawl (lawon prada). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.


This beautifully aged long batik cloth is decorated on one side with a thin layer of gold leaf, a technique known as prada which was a less expensive way to produce shimmering gold cloth. The motif consists of rows of flowers framed in a tritik dyed border with traditional triagular tumpal ends.  It does contain several tiny holes because of its age.  During a marriage ceremony Lawon shawls would have been presented as gifts to the bride. 


Material: cotton with gold leaf.

Size: 194x84cm.

Circa: 1920-1930.

Item No: 13-364

Pelangi shawl (selendang). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.


A tie-dyed pelangi cloth from Palembang in the southern part of Sumatra.  Decorated with floral and boteh motifs at each end. The pattern is achieved using a resist-dye technique of tying (pelangi) and sewing (tritik) areas to produce a bold and artistic impression. The borders are fringed with gilt threads. Presented as a gift or worn on a ceremonial occasion. Colour deep red with an ivory centre.

CLICK on image to enlarge.


Material: Fine silk.

Size: 238x82cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 13-388

Printed cloth (kain). Padang? Sumatra, Indonesia.

Because patola cloths were so expensive, long printed versions were made (in European factories) for Indonesien clientelle. They were valued by Sumatran society and this particular piece is special having a cream lace border attatched to each end.


Material: Cotton, printed.

Size: 270x68cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 15-445

Ritual shoulder cloth (Ragidup). Batak people, Sumatra.

For the Batak, the most sacred and prestigous of all textiles is the Ragidup. An important ceremonial item used for gift exchange during births and marriages. For instance, at a marriage the father of the bride would wrap it around the groom's mothers shoulders, a statement of the bride giver's superior status. Gittinger. M. 1979. The Batak are a heirarchical society and live in the region around Lake Toba, there are numerous groups and their traditions are still practised today. Hand-spun cloth of three sections, patterned with white supplementary weft yarn.


Material: Cotton, hand-spun .

Size: 230x120cm.

Circa: Late 19th c.

Item No: 017-BLS05

Sarong (Batik jupri). Lasem/Palembang.

A delicately drawn kain sarong produced in Lasem and consumed in Palembang. Regions in southern and western Sumatra were important markets for batiks produced in Lasem and in Cirebon on Java's north coast. This batik Jupri is named after an important Batik family - Al Jufri in Jambi. These textiles were worn on Sumatra by Aristocratic muslim ladies (Van Hout, 2001). 



Material: Fine primissima cotton, natural dyes, tulis.

Size: 106x104cm.

Circa: Early 20th century .

Item No: 15-411

Shawl (selendang). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.


A striking silk selendang lawon from the Palembang region in south Sumatra. The pattern is achieved by a combination of pelangi and the tritik method of sewing and resist dyeing.  


Click image to enlarge.


Material: silk .

Size: 182 x 60cm.

Circa: 1940.

Item No: 13-389

Sembagi (kain panjang). Sumatra, Indonesia.

Sembagi are block printed and mordant-dyed cotton cloths popular in Sumatra, traditionally used as kain panjang wrapped around the waist.

They are always produced with the tumpal triangle at each end and commonly in the main field have a repeated rows of rosettes/florettes. The trade in Indian produced textiles for the Indonesian market influenced the design and popularity of Sembagi. 


Material: Cotton printed, synthetic colours.

Size: 245x110cm.

Circa: 1950 to 1960.

Item No: 15-405

Shawl (selendang). Tanjung Sangaijan, Minangkabau people, Sumatra.


The Minangkabau are renowned for their stunning shawls and this example is obviously done by a very skilled weaver.  Very neat and dense brocade with intricate diamond geometric patterning using gilt-thread cover the entire ends and borders. The purple checkered ground is decorated with gold blossoms. For ceremonial use, typically at wedding and funeral ceremonies. For a comparable piece see: Asian Costume & Textiles from the Bosphorus to Fujiyama, 1991,p179. German private collection.



Material: Cotton, silk, metal threads.

Size: 166x55cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS40

Shoulder cloth (selendang). Padang.

A silk and gilt thread embroidered shoulder cloth with ornate flowers and butterflies intensely couched on a Chinese silk base. Worn by a Minangkabau woman as festive dress.


Material: Silk.

Size: 136x43cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 09-204

Printed cloth (Selendang). Palembang? Indonesia.


A large number of exquisite Indian texiles were in circulation in Indonesia, often printed imitations were produced for the local market.  Here is a beautifully patterned printed cloth decorated with floral motifs in sombre colours of red and blue. The tumpal end sections suggest that it was used as a selendang/shawl.  Charming despite of some damage spots.


Material: Cotton.

Size: 195 x 66cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 13-370

Ceremonial shoulder cloth (Kain bidak). Pasemah region, Sumatra.

This rectangular cloth bidak is from the Pasemah area west of Lampung. Unlike the glamorous cloths from neighboring Palembang, it is an item of quite modest sophistication. It may have had a ceremonial or ritual purpose or perhaps it was worn as a man's shoulder cloth. The intriguing hooked tumpal ends are stitched onto the fabric. Colours: white on a red and deep blue woven field and along the sides white lines penetrating the field. Another of this rare group, can be found in the East Indies Museum and in the Bakwin Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. (German private collection).


Material: Cotton, embroidery, supplementary weft patterning..

Size: 150x53cm.

Circa: Mid to late 19th century.

Item No: 017-BLS-21

Shoulder cloth (Selendang plangi). Palembang, Sumatra.

These brightly coloured plangi are also named rainbow cloths refering to the many colours of the fabric. The silk is dipped into a dye bath and the coloured areas are achieved from resist dying and tritik - resist sewing method. 


Material: Silk, tie-dyed.

Size: 225x75cm.

Circa: Around 1900.

Item No: 017-BLS47

Ceremonial shoulder cloth (Kain prada). Palembang, Sumatra.

Textiles enhanced with gold leaf are a technique known in Southeast Asia as Prada, it is a far less expensive method than gold thread weaving. This remarkably well-preserved piece may have belonged to a Malay noblewoman. The centre field is entirely covered in quadrangular flowers - very close to Indian patola elemants. The geometric forms are enclosed in elegant triple edged borders and tumpal ends. Such cloths in Palembang were used in gift exchange - handed to the bride by the bridegroom's family. ref: Khan Majlis. B. 2007. p.57 Bakwin Collection. This piece is from a private German collection. And for similar example of Prada: Yoshimoto, S. 1978. no: 220 - Systematic study of Indonesian Textiles.


Material: Silk, hand-drawn batik tulis, gold-leaf .

Size: 210x89cm.

Circa: 19th century.

Item No: 017-BLS64

Ceremonial shoulder cloth (Kain limar). Bangka, Sumatra, Indonesia.

The remarkable design on this fine silk shoulder cloth features the wings of the Garuda bird, the mount of Vishnu symbolising the upper world in Hindu mythology. 

The cloth is produced using a weft-ikat (limar) and supplementary weft (songket) technique. The method is a complex and exacting weaving process to align the threads using several weft shed-sticks to reveal the pattern.

The predominance of yellow in the field design reveals that the cloth was produced on the island of Bangka nearby Palembang. They are among the most coveted of Sumatran cloths. This piece is coming from a private German collection.

Literature: published in Khan Majlis. B, 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel


Material: Silk, metal thread ikat, songket brocade.

Size: 213x73cm.

Circa: Circa 1900.

Item No: 017-BLS71

Printed cloth (selendang). Palembang.

Very finely woven and printed cotton cloths such as this were a popular feature in Sumatran society. They were a response to the extremely expensive patola and it is believed that they were produced in European workshops. Colours: deep red and blue on natural cotton. 


Material: Cotton.

Size: 182x66cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century or earlier.

Item No: 09-176

Shoulder cloth (Kain Limar). Palembang.


These glowing red and gold cloths were produced by the Malay people of Palembang in South Sumatra and were used as shoulder cloths/selendang worn over the shoulders and secured at the waist with a belt. The sombre purple centre is weft woven silk ikat with a geometric floral pattern, the tumpal ends are embroidered with gold yarn, a decorative supplementary weft technique. The name for this particular type of cloth is Kain Limar.

Material: Silk, metallic yarn brocade.

Size: 192x75cm.

Circa: 1920.

Item No: 11-341

Ceremonial shoulder cloth (Selendang). Minangkabau, Sumatra.


An exquisite Minangkabau ladies shoulder cloth no doubt worn for a festive ceremony. The intense red centre field contains an arrangement of golden floral repeats shimmering against the background. The cloth is a magnificent silk, the patterned ends contain richly stylised brocade work of gold metal threads and are finished with a wonderful crocheted edge - an ornamental feature of European influence. From a German private collection.

Literature: published in Khan Majlis. B, 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel


Material: Silk, metal threads.

Size: 181 x 50cm.

Circa: Circa 1900.

Item No: 017-BLS38

Skirt cloth (Sarong Limar). Bangka, Sumatra, Indonesia.

The island of Bangka off Sumatra's east coast generated its wealth from tin production and the people's prosperity found expression in beautiful textiles such as this exceptional sarong. The front side - kepala is work of fine craftmanship, adjoining triangles of brocaded gilt thread contain evenly spaced florettes framed in ornate gold stripes.

The weft-woven ikat body of the cloth features stylised naga, or snake - a motif associated with water and the underworld. While the design and colour follows the palette of Palembang cloths, it is the characteristic use of warm yellow that denotes its Bangka origins. Ref: Gittinger. M. 1979 & 2005. German private collection.

Literature: published in Khan Majlis. B, 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel


Material: Silk weft-resist dyed, gold metal threads, cotton.

Size: 104x88cm.

Circa: Around 1900.

Item No: 017-BLS68

Ceremonial Sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people, Sumatra.

Heavily embroidered cotton sarong or Tapis added splendour to social occasions and were a display of the wearer's wealth and success. Curving tendril shapes sewn in gold metallic thread float among narrow bands of alternating blue, ochre and red colours.  German private collection.


Material: Cotton, silk, metal threads.

Size: 112 x 63cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS73

Ceremonial sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people, Sumatra.


Heavily embroidered sarong or Tapis added splendour to social occasions and were a visual display of the wearers' wealth and success. In this striking and lively example, large geometric forms are alternated with rows of couched metal yarn on a rust, red and white striped ground. German private collection.


Material: Cotton, silk, metal threads.

Size: 125x73cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS78

Ceremonial sarong (Tapis). Lampung, Abung people.


A fabulously flamboyant tubular sarong that expresses the confidence and affluence of the wearer. Almost entirely covered in gold wrapped thread with the triangular pucuk rebung (bamboo shoot) motif alternating between the ochre and dark brown stripes.

At the upper end a belt would be wrapped around the waist to secure the garment. German private collection.

Literature: published in Khan Majlis. B, 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel


Material: Cotton, silk, metal threads.

Size: 105 x 66cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS80

Ceremonial Tunic (Baju kurung). Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

A sumptuous ceremonial garment that was likely worn by an aristocratic Malay lady in the region of Palembang or as part of a dancers' costume for the Palembang courts. Richly embroidered in multi-coloured silk and couched with gold thread on a deep red velvet. The motif is repeated over the front and back of the tunic, the pattern is influenced by the wedding attire of the Straits Chinese (Maxwell 2003). 

Material: Velvet, silk embroidered, couched in gold yarn..

Size: 143 x 97cm.

Circa: 1900.

Item No: 15-425

Wedding shawl (selendang). Pasemah, south Sumatra.

Among the diverse array of cloths that were woven in the Pasemah highland district of south Sumatra are ceremonial brocaded cloths entirely covered in silver thread as supplementary weft weave.  This one is composed of elaborate geometric patterns and was worn as a wedding shawl.


Material: Cotton, metal thread.

Size: 173 x 68cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS83

Woman's shawl (Selendang). Palembang.

A fine, long silk cloth with hand-drawn/batik-tulis naturalistic elements in the outer field. The tie-dyed inner field is distinctly Palembang style. The small boteh motifs suggest Indian influence. From the late 19th century, demand for silk batik in Sumatra increased and designs were adapted to suit prevailing tastes. Pepin. V.R, 1993: Batik Design. For another of this type see: Ghysels Collection. p.465. Magic of Women catalogue, World Museum Rotterdam 2012. 


Material: Silk, batik, tie-dye.

Size: 280 x53cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLS107

Bali and Toraja

Textile Art


Traditional Balinese textiles are as rich and diverse as the people that have historically occupied the island. They are a visual feast of brilliant silks, cottons, and gold embellished cloths, subtle coloured weavings to complex double ikat. Usually long and rectangular in shape, many cloths are prescribed attire for village and temple ceremonies, and are elegantly wrapped around the body, or used in cremation ceremonies as healing cloths.


The Toraja of Sulawesi (Celebes) specialised in some original creations of ritual cloth that were primarily decorated by a wax-resist technique similar to batik. A particularly intriguing type is the Mawa, a sacred ceremonial textile attributed with mystical powers and used to consecrate rituals surrounding birth, death and fertility. The imagery on these cloths often depict Torajan village life and such scenes were similarly represented on the highly prized Sarita banners.

(Please click on thumbnail image for more info.)

Indian cloth . Gujarat traded to Sulawesi, eastern Indonesia.


A long 'three panel cloth' with a different pattern in each zone showing white and red florettes on floating tendrils in two of the panels and large blossoms inside a circular formation on the third section. A small tumpal edge features on the short sides of each panel.

Similar long cloths function as banners in Sulawesi and are used during ceremonies. Indian imported cloths are higlly treasured items, often stored in boxes for centuries. Found in Sulawesi. German private collection.



Material: Cotton, block printed.

Size: 428x76 cm .

Circa: 16/17th century.

Item No: 017-BL004

Ceremonial breast cloth (Kemben plangi). Bali.


A bold and exuberant display of colour with an artistic pattern arrangement achieved with both tie-dye plangi and stitch-dyed tritik method. In contrast to the more restrained plangi textiles from Palembang, the Balinese were the one's that excelled in creating the drama of this technique. Such a garment would have been spectacularly displayed at a ceremony either wrapped around the waist or around the upper body. From a German private collection.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, tritik.

Size: 331x52 cm.

Circa: Early to Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB50

Breast cloth (Kemben plangi). Bali.


Worked on fine cotton, this striped decorative pattern presents a very modernist appearance. Comprising four resist dyed lines of russet, green, orange and purple with ivory circles emerging where the cloth was tightly tied before being plunged into the dye bath.  These brightly coloured textiles were distinctive to Balinese people and the piece was probably used as a waist sash or breast cloth. From a German private collection.


Material: Cotton, tie-dyed.

Size: 118x42 cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB56

Ceremonial breast cloth (Kemben plangi). Bali.


Simple artistry with stark designs on cloths were the speciality of the Balinese people. This example featuring alternating sombre colours in zig zag pattern symmetry. The item would have been worn at a ceremony either wrapped several times around the waist or around the upper torso. In Indonesia, the plangi technique is often combined with tritik where the resist dye area are stitched into the cloth before plunging into the dye bath.

From a German private collection.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed.

Size: 232 x 44cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th c.

Item No: 017-BLB64

Breast cloth (anteng tirtanadi). Bali.

Tirtanadi cloths in zig-zag patterns are a special group of protective Balinese textiles. They are worn as breast cloths (anteng) wrapped around the upper body. The attractive tapestry weave pattern is achieved by inserting rolled palm strips to create spaces in the design. But the significance of the cloth goes beyond its artistic quality, the tiny gaps are believed to trap malevolent spirits and protect the wearer.  Hindu religious practice on Bali is shared with older animist beliefs and textiles like these function as a response. Ref: Nabholz-Kartaschoff 1991: Balinese Textiles. German private collection.


Material: Cotton, viscose, tapestry weave.

Size: 199x70cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB75

Breast cloth (anteng endek). Bali.


The creation of ikat or endek cloth is a highly sophisticated process involving tying the yarn areas that should resist the absorption of the dye, then repeating the process to create the pattern.  This piece contains a superb colour arrangement of diamond repeats and the gigi barong motif which refers to the teeth of the mythical lion barong.

Early endek started in the Buleleng region and were courtly attire or for special occasions, later and since around the 1930's endek was being produced in other villages in Tabanan and also in Nusa Penida. Ref: Nabholz-Kartaschoff, M.L.1991: Balinese Textiles.

German private collection.


Material: Silk, ikat.

Size: 242x38cm.

Circa: Early 20th century .

Item No: 017-BLB80

Breast cloth or waist sash (anteng, cerik endek). Bali.


A three metre long silk cloth, woven with the ikat (endek) technique and decorated in coloured stripes with an undulating wave like pattern, quite a modern composition by today's standards. The Buleleng regency, north of Bali, specialise in the production of silk ikat cloths, since around the 1930's cloths were being produced in other villages such as Tabanan and also in Nusa Penida. Ref: Nabholz-Kartaschoff, M.L.1991: Balinese Textiles.  This colourful cloth would have been worn wrapped around the upper body or as a waist sash-cerik. German private collection.


Material: silk .

Size: 312x42cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB78

Breast cloth or waist sash (Kemben). Bali.


Among the rich diversity of textiles from the island of Bali are striped cloths that were worn as ceremonial waist sashes or breast cloths. Integral to this piece are intricate bands of metal thread interwoven between the multicolored striped layers. The cloth is further enhanced with long tassles at each end. Natural colours: sombre shades of red, orange, green, ivory. An early piece from a German private collection.


Material: Cotton, woven, metal threads.

Size: 296x27cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB84

Cepuk (kain cepuk). Nusa Penida.

Cepuk cloths are held in great esteem by the Balinese, this example with a figural (Arjuna) design was produced on the small island of Nusa Penida. This kind of weaving is a long tradition still practiced today and the age of this individual piece is presumably mid/late 20th century. Traditionally cepuk are sacred and protective cloths used as ritual objects in healing or as protection in a tooth-filling ceremony.  They also functions as decorative hangings draped on shrines or hung in temples.  The soft dye tones of red, yellow and white are characteristic of these textiles.  Ref: Nabholz-Kartaschoff, ML 1991:Balinese Textiles

Material: cotton hand spun weft ikat.

Size: 152 x 74cm.

Item No: 13-398

Ceremonial breast cloth (Kemben plangi). Bali.

These long tie-dyed (plangi) cloths with huge bursts of colour were worn by Balinese ladies and were spectacularly displayed at ceremonies. In contrast to plangi from Sumatra the Bali patterning tends to be more dramatic. The cloths were incredibly decorative and functioned as waist sashes or breast cloths wrapped around upper body. This exquisite example contains six colours and tassled edges. From a German private collection.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, tritik.

Size: 275x56 cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB49

Ceremonial breast cloth (Kemben plangi). Bali.


This fine long silk cloth with pattern arrangement of zig zags, circles and florettes is coloured in muted greens, reds, aubergine and orange. The textile would have been stylishly displayed during a ceremony either around the waist or wrapped around the upper body. Some holes. From a German private collection.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, tritik.

Size: 290x40cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB51

Ceremonial breast cloth (Kemben plangi). Bali.

The Balinese people developed some of the most dramatic elements of all plangi on South-east Asia. This example of bold artistry contains nine bands of colour in a zig zag style. The cloth would have been worn at a ceremony either wrapped several times around the waist or around the upper torso. In Indonesia, the plangi technique is often combined with tritik where the resist dye area are stitched into the cloth before plunging into the dye bath.

From a German private collection.



Material: Silk, tie-dyed, tritik.

Size: 288 x 56 cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB53

Ceremonial breast cloth (anteng). Bali.

A bold and exuberant display of colour with an artistic pattern arrangement achieved with both tie-dye plangi and stitch-dyed tritik method. In contrast to the more restrained plangi textiles from Palembang, the Balinese were the artists that excelled in creating drama with the technique. Such a garment would have been spectacularly displayed at a ceremony either wrapped around the waist or around the upper body. From a German private collection.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, stitch-dyed.

Size: 326x50 cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB54

Ceremonial breast cloth (anteng plangi). Bali.

Silk breast cloths or anteng with bold colour and format, achieved with both tie-dye plangi and stitch-dyed tritik method. In contrast to the more restrained plangi textiles from Palembang, the Balinese were the artists that excelled in creating drama from the technique. Such a garment would have been spectacularly displayed at a festive ceremony either wrapped around the upper body or shoulders. From a German private collection.


Material: silk, tie-dyed, stitch-dyed.

Size: 225x68 cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB58

Ceremonial breast cloth (anteng plangi). Bali.


A fine, old silk breast cover or anteng decorated with soft contrasting colours of green, yellow, orange, aubergine and ivory, and achieved with the tie-dye plangi and stitch-dyed tritik technique. Such captivating cloths would have been worn as part of a festive costume by a Balinese woman. 


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, stitch-dyed.

Size: 324x70cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB61

Ceremonial breast cloth (anteng plangi). Bali.


A striking silk breast cover or anteng that would have been worn by a Balinese lady on a festive occasion. The design is achieved with the tie-dye plangi technique in a palette of contrasting pink and green with a diamond pattern in the centre-field and attractive corresponding sides. 


Material: silk, tie-dyed.

Size: 162x42cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB70

Ceremonial breast cloth or waist sash (anteng). Bali .


Early weft-ikat woven cloth was being produced in the Buleleng regency (north Bali) around the late 19th to early 20th century. They were courtly attire used for special occasions in temples and palaces. A lavish addition to the geometric design on this cloth is the gold thread work or songket. The base of the early endek-songket fabric usually takes a variant shade of red. 

Later and since around the 1930's the endek technique developed in villages in Tabanan and also in Nusa Penida. Ref: Nabholz-Kartaschoff, M.L.1991: Balinese Textiles.


Material: Silk ikat, metal threads.

Size: 242x38cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB82

Ceremonial breast cloth (Anteng). Bali, Indonesia.


The special artistry of this type of cloth is in the way it is completely covered with holes. Locally named bolong-bolong, the effect is created by inserting palm leaf strips for the open network, the coloured blossoms are achieved with a supplementary weft weave. Such a cloth would be worn by a female wrapped or draped across the upper torso and only high ranking ladies could wear this type of attire. 


Material: Silk threads open weave.

Size: 122x122cm.

Circa: Early 20th century .

Item No: 15-437

Ceremonial cloths . Bali.

Three ceremonial cloths that were used as covers for offerings brought to the temple or placed at the alter. The rice goddess, Dewi Sri or Bhatari Sri is frequently the focus of Balinese ceremonies and associated with well-being. Wronska-Friend, M. 2014:Textiles for Gods & People. And published in Khan Majlis. B, 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesian Traditionen im Wandel.

Material: Cotton, silk supplementary weft, metal threads, appliqué.

Size: 57x29 cm, 72x18 cm, 63x20 cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB46,47,48

Ceremonial breast cloth (anteng plangi). Bali.


A fine example of Balinese tie-dye-plangi artistry. The long silk cloth has an ivory coloured field and is surrounded by multi-coloured floral motifs in muted red, purple, orange and green. The format is that of a traditional breast cloth with a centre lozenge though it might equally have been also used as a scarf with soft fringed ends. German private collection.


Material: Silk, tie-dyed, stitch-dyed.

Size: 235x46cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB68

Ceremonial cloth (plangi). Bali.

In contrast to the more restrained tie-dyed - plangi textiles from Palembang, the Balinese were the artists that excelled in creating drama with this technique. Such a garment would have been spectacularly displayed at a festive ceremony either wrapped around the body or over the shoulders. German private collection.

Material: silk, tie-dyed.

Size: 134x78cm.

Circa: Early 20th century .

Item No: 017-BLB69

Ceremonial cloth (kamben cepuk). Nusa Penida.

Cepuk cloths are a group of ritual fabrics that functioned as ceremonial cloths, decorations for shrines, placed under offerings or as an article of clothing. They come in shades of brick reds, brighter reds being the younger types. The patterns follow a format of an abstract geometric ikat field and framed in fine white, black and yellow lines. This pattern is typical of Nusa Penida and may be part of a longer piece. Published in: Khan-Majlis, B. 1991: Gewebte Botschaften-Indonesiche Traditionen im Wandel. 

Material: Cotton, silk ikat.

Size: 105x65cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB90

Ceremonial cloth (kamben cepuk). Bali.

In Balinese tradition kamben cepuk - 'wrap-around' cloths were used in many rites of passage such as teeth filling ceremonies, purification rites and funerals. They also served as clothing and worn by both men and women wrapped around the lower body, and they found place as religious decorations.  All cepuk are ikat woven with an abstract field design, surrounded by white, black, yellow lines with the ground colour taking variatiions of red hues. German private collection.

Literature: Nabholz-Kartaschoff 1991: Balinese Textiles.  

Material: Cotton, ikat.

Size: 220x78cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB95

Ceremonial cloth (kamben cepuk). Bali.


In Balinese tradition kamben cepuk - 'wrap-around' cloths were used in many rites of passage such as teeth filling ceremonies, purification rites and funerals. They also served as items of clothing worn by both men and women wrapped around the lower body, and they found a place in religious decoration. All cepuk are weft-ikat woven with an abstract central field design, surrounded by white, black, yellow lines with the ground colour taking variatiions of red hues. German private collection.

Literature: Nabholz-Kartaschoff 1991: Balinese Textiles.  

Material: Cotton, weft-ikat.

Size: 250x77cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB96

Ceremonial cloth (geringsing). Tenganan, eastern Bali, Indonesia.


Masterly weavers of the small village of Tenganan, Pegringsingan in eastern Bali, produced the most significant and ritually important group of textiles on the island: - the double-ikat woven geringsing. Gering refers to illness and sing means without, thus avoiding illness and the cloths were typically used during rituals and healing ceremonies. To produce the special cloths is both complex and time consuming, taking several years to make, and the weaver must adhere to strict religious and ritual conditions observing auspicious days of the Balinese calendar. The master makers are now a small handful in the village. Outside of Bali, the technique is only practised in two other countrie - India and Japan. Geringsing have around twenty patterns ranging from temple scenes, kneeling figures (priests and devotees), to floral and star motifs inspired by Indian patola patterns. They are all woven with hand-spun cotton with a regular colour pallette or reds, browns and blacks. Ref: Wronska-Friend, M. 2015:Textiles for God's and People. German private collection.

Published in: Khan-Majlis, B. 1991: Gewebte Botschaften/Indonesian Textile Tradition in the course of time.


Material: Cotton, double ikat.

Size: 203x49cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB98

Ceremonial cloth (kain Sambiran). Buleleng Regency, Bali.


A long traditional Balinese textile with a weft faced plain weave composed of great variations of striped colours. In Bali these cloths functioned as a ceremonial wrap simply draped around the waist during a festival. Others are used as shrine wraps or placed at the altar during a temple ceremony. 


Material: Bands of plain woven weft stripe patterning.

Size: 190x49cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 09-186

Ceremonial cloth . Toraja, Sulawesi.


A decorative painted cloth, probably a local adaptation of an Indian trade cloth depicting a procession of eight female musicians clad in traditional/ceremonial dress carrying a bird in one hand and an instrument balanced on the shoulder. A blue border albeit frayed surrounds the piece with blue and brown decorative bands of flowers either side of the figural motifs. 



Material: Cotton, painted.

Size: 326x63cm.

Item No: 10-267

Ceremonial cloths (bebali). Bali .


A particular group of sacred textiles that are employed in all manner of ceremonies and rites of passage on traditional Bali are generically known as Bebali. They come in various formats, sizes and colours, with each carrying their own symbolism and they are believed to keep malevolent forces away. German private collection.


Material: Cotton.

Size: 213x55 cm, 370x63 cm,401x79 cm.

Item No: 017-BLB21,22,24

Ceremonial hanging (Porilonjong). Rongkong, Sulawesi.

A twentieth century porilonjong ceremonial hanging. The meaning of the term pori is to bind or tie and  lonjong refers to long. These outstanding cloths were one of the largest in the repertoire produced by the weaving women of Rongkong district in northern Sulawesi. They were highly popular among various Sulawesi groups especially among the Toraja peoples who valued them for multiple ceremonial purposes.  During a Torajan funeral ceremony these cloths would be hung lengthways to demarcate certain sacred spaces. Woven on a back-strap loom from hand spun fibres with two identical halves produced by the ikat technique of tying and dyeing the warp threads and then stitched together down the centre.  The production involved a considerable amount of material investment and time that took several months to complete.  Decorated with panels of geometric diamond and hook motifs with alternating striped border, the colours appear to be all natural.


Material: Cotton fibres, warp ikat.

Size: 600x93cm.

Circa: 20th century.

Item No: 10-261

Ceremonial scarf (Cerik plangi). Bali.


Patterns created through the simple resist-dyeing method are known in Bali as plangi and many variations are possible. This example featuring a line of dots in each inclining row of colour with the ivory ground colour showing through at each interval. The border is enhanced with metal thread and the edges are fringed. The scarf or cerik would have been used as part of a ceremonial dress or as an accessory to a dance costume. ref: Friend, M.W. 2015: Textiles for gods and people. German private collection.



Material: Silk, tie-dyed, stitch-dyed.

Size: 294 x 56cm.

Circa: Around 1900.

Item No: 017-BLB60

Long cloth . Bali.

A long traditional Balinese cloth that functioned as a head-cloth or breast wrapper. The circlular repeat patterns and border design is done with the pelangi-tie-dye technique, achieving a bold artistic impression. 


Material: Silk.

Size: 300x53cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 08-126

Ceremonial cloth . Bali, Indonesia.

The Balinese really know how to make oppulent cloths, this example is worked with gold-leaf/prada. The sacred and secular Balinese rituals call for these special type of cloths. In theatrical performances they are often seen worn as a dance garment wrapped around the body, in sacred ceremonies smaller prada embellished cloths are presented as gifts/offerings to the Gods. Because of its size, this piece was probably hung as a temple decoration.

The art of applying gold leaf is achieved after the preliminary sketching of the pattern onto the fabric, then the gold leaf is carefully applied/glued onto the surface.  The art is still practised today and older cloths are known to have darker or black coloured ground.


The colours are dominant blue and deep fuschia. The design in the border frame and centre flower contains the popular Banji or Swastika motif - showing Chinese influence, the main body ornamentation contains swriling tendrils and large floral elements.  This piece is known to have been in one family for several decades. Some peeling to the blue base and some loss of gold.  



Material: Silk, gold-leaf prada.

Size: 180x110cm.

Circa: 1960 or earlier..

Item No: 15-434

Protective cloth (Tirtanadi). Singaraja, Bali.

Among the amazing and diverse array of Balinese textiles are a special group of open-work cloths called tirtanadi - the words come from Sanskrit and refer to the transfer of divine energy.  The holes are created by inserting rolled palm leaves.  The gaps are believed to protect the wearer such that any malevolent spirits would get trapped in the holes. (Nabholz-Kartaschoff & Palm-Nadolny, 1995). The repeating rows of scorpions along the borders give the wearer double protection. Used on ceremonial occasions wrapped around the upper body.

For another fine example: Wronska-Friend, Maria, 2014: Textiles for Gods and People

Material: Viskose, tapestry weave.

Size: 173x74cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 017-BLB76

Sacred cloth (Sarita). Toraja, Sulawesi.


A long Torajan sacred ceremonial banner printed using a resist-batik technique on locally woven cloth. The design contains a series of repeat patterned scrolls with figures, birds and buffalo motifs depicting Torajan farm life. During a funeral ceremony sacred Sarita banners would be flown from high poles in front of their Tongkonan/house or wrapped around the head of effigies in commemoration of the dead person.  Colours blue and brown. 


Material: Fine cotton gauze wax resist .

Size: 530x20cm.

Circa: early 1900's .

Item No: 10-262

Pelangi sash (Pelangi). Bali.


A very long Balinese sash created by the pelangi technique. The Balinese frequently used vibrant colours and created simple yet dramatic designs in their textiles.


Material: Silk.

Size: 270x42cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 13-356

Shoulder cloth/sash (cerik). Singaraja, Bali.


This long and exquisitely coloured sash exemplifies the Balinese love of colour and detail. Part of an noblewoman's costume it was worn over and around the upper body covering the breast and shoulders. Vivid colour combination in the weft, with songket decorated ends and long tassles. A similar example is documented in E.M Bakwin, 2007 (Chicago Museum collection).



Material: silk, cotton .

Size: 258x26cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 13-396

Waist sash . Bali.

A Balinese sash worn wrapped around the waist decorated in supplementary weft. CLICK image to enlarge.


Material: Silk .

Size: 110x60cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 13- 999

Selendang . Singaraja, Bali.


The patterning technique used on this traditional Balinese cloth is endek woven on the weft with songket (supplementary weft) tumpal ends.  Woven on a back strap loom, cloths like these were not just garments but central to Balinese spiritual life. CLICK image to see detail.


Material: silk with wrapped thread.

Size: 169 x 56cm.

Circa: 1930.

Item No: 13-395

Skirt cloth (Saput). Negara, Bali, Indonesia.

A large woven Balinese skirt cloth. Decorated with crescent lines and a beautiful array of colours.

Material: Silk and cotton synthetic dyes.

Size: 177x102cm.

Circa: 1940.

Item No: 10-298

Skirt cloth (songket). Tabanan, Bali.

A younger example of a songket cloth such as were produced since the 1920's for theatre and dance, depicting demon heads and naga snakes. 

Size: 107 x 47cm.

Circa: 1950 .

Item No: 13-366

Torajan cloth (Maa'). Toraja, Sulawesi.


A 'tree of life' ceremonial cloth, collected in Toraja.  

The design imagery comes from the prestigous Indian palampore textiles which were traded to Sulawesi from India depicting a flowering tree on a mound.

Both the tree and the mound base have significance in Torajan epistimolgoy. The mound represents the origin of the earth, the tree symbolises kinship. Torajan rituals often involve trees, their tall tongkonan houses are often compared to trees (ref: Barnes & Kahlenberg. 2010).

Imported indian cottons were highly sacred and treasured among the Torajan people, and local artisans also made their own adaptations of sacred maa' emulating the designs found on the earlier Indian cloths. Signs of use, holes and stains.


Material: Cotton, painted, mordant-dyed.

Size: 160x100cm.

Circa: Late 19th - early 20th century .

Item No: 15-440

Ceremonial cloth . Sa'dan-Toraja, Sulawesi.

An early Torajan handpainted and printed ritual cloth of the maa' category with mirror-imaged flowering (tree of life) motif.


The centre field is painted, the border is block printed and painted, contains holes and several areas of missing material.


Material: Cotton painted and printed.

Size: 212x97cm.

Circa: 19th century .

Item No: 15-443

Waist sash/chest cloth . Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

A mixed design cloth combining contrasting stripes of songket supplementary weft with geometrical star pattern at each end and additional stripes containing weft ikat - endek splashes. The creation of these tradtional cloths was an extremely complex and time consuming craft done on a backstrap - cagcag loom. This piece may have come from the town of Buleleng but there were other production centres also renowned for producing fine endek-songket fabric. Colours soft purple/red and splashes of apricot, green and lilac in the ikat.

Material: Woven, wrapped silk .

Size: 145 x 45cm.

Circa: Before 1930.

Item No: 10-332

Calligraphy batiks


Among the many styles of Indonesian batik, there is one highly collectable type decorated in calligraphic script and Islamic symbols. Not all scholars agree on their origins, some blue cloths in this category are believed to have been made in Cirebon and exported to Sumatra. Others believe that Jambi and Bengkulu in Sumatra had their own production centres.  Due to the decline of the Islamic courts, information on dyes and workshops which was often secret and hidden was subsequently lost.

The calligraphic script is often highly stylised, they were signifiers of faith more than messages to be read and literally translated. In the group there are two main colours - red and blue, and two main forms - Kain panjang - long cloth and iket kepala/destar - head-cloth. The long cloths are believed to have been used as shrouds or canopies and the square cloths were head-cloths for men.

The cloths display common symbols of Islam such as Ottoman Tugras, Rub al Hizb and the Dhu'l-Faqar. The background fill and the placement of these symbols show symetries that are sometimes further emphasised by the orientation of the writing.


(Please click on thumbnail image for more info.)

Calligraphic batik (Kain Kaligrafi). Cirebon/Jambi.

The field of this sacred ritual cloth contains sitting birds/doves among a background of stylised Islamic inscriptions serving both as a protective cloth as well as a proclamation of the wearer's identity and faith. Possibly produced in Cirebon for the Sumatran market.  Wonderful symetry, finely drawn, wax resist in blue on a pale ground.


Material: Primissima cotton - tulis.

Size: 210x90cm .

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-312

Calligraphic batik (Kain Kaligrafi). Cirebon, Java, Indonesia.


Cirebon on Java’s north coast produced a group of stylized batik cloth containing ornamental Arab inscriptions for export to the Sumatran Muslim market. Hand drawn in blue and white stylized Arabic script recite the word Allah.  The other notable element in this finely executed batik tulis is the Dhu’l-Faqar, the double pointed sword of Ali-son in law of prophet Mohammed. The crocheted border finish suggests that it might have been used as a decorative funeral shroud.

Material: Plain weave cotton, wax resist dyed, batik tulis.

Size: 225x87 cm.

Circa: 1900-1920.

Item No: 09-161

Calligraphy batik . Jambi.

A 20th century batik cloth with stylised calligraphy known as kain kaligrafi. The cloth was probably used as a shroud/ funeral cover. The striped pattern along each end of the cloth is a typical feature of Jambi batik design. The borders are decorated with a finely crocheted metal twine. Hand-drawn wax resist-dyed batik-tulis on white cotton with indigo dye.


Material: Strong cotton.

Size: 209x86cm.

Circa: Mid to late 20th century.

Item No: 09-182

Calligraphic batik (kain kaligrafi). Jambi, Sumatra.

Calligraphy on a terracotta coloured ground tend to be the rarer type in this group. This one drawn with three Rub el Hizb as a reference to the Koran and surrounded by the Dhu'l-Faqar - the double bladed sword of Ali. The Islamic inscriptions are all stylised. The imitation fringe at each end is a common feature favoured by the Jambi market. 



Material: Primissima cotton - tulis.

Size: 210x86cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 09-188

Calligraphic batik (batik besurak). Bengkulu.

Batik besurak literally means batik containing verses of the Koran. The swirling Tughra motif is derived from signatures of the Ottoman rulers. The precise meaning of these cloths remain mysterious however they carry expressions of loyalty and devotion to the Islamic faith, also serving as protective talisman. This piece possibly was used as a ceremonial shroud. Wax-resist,hand-drawn, batik tulis.(see similar cloth in 'Batik' by F.Kerlogue)

Material: Very fine cotton.

Size: 235x100cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 09-207

Calligraphic batik . Jambi, Sumatra.

On this batik, the metallic fringe along each end suggests that its function was decorative, possibly used as a ceremonial cover or shroud for a coffin. The Koranic phrases in the form of birds are stylised probably containing Laa ilaaha illallah, Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah (there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger) and the name of Muhammad is repeated in the surrounding space. Note the triple symmetry with four birds surrounding a square. Contains several areas of repair and is lined.


Material: Hand-drawn on fine cotton and lined.

Size: 210x86cm.

Circa: Late 19th or early 20th century .

Item No: 10-318

Ceremonial head-cloth (Iket kepala). Jambi, Sumatra.

This head-cloth worn by a man, was produced in Cirebon probably around 80 years ago and exported to Jambi. Some forty or so years later the cloth was applied with a faint layer of prada, probably for a ceremonial occasion to be worn by a high cleric in the mosque.  Drawn in subdued colours in a symmetrical arrangement containing a four-petalled flower in the centre, surrounding tugras all framed in a triple border of alternating cartouches and diamonds containg Islamic phrases. 


Material: Cotton, batik tulis, prada.

Size: 90x90cm.

Circa: 1930-1940.

Item No: 15-441

Headcloth (Iket kepala). Bengkulu.

This headcloth is from the Bengkulu region in south Sumatra, drawn in stylised calligraphy with eight sitting birds on each side.  There are several areas of old repair.


Material: Fine cotton.

Size: 79x87cm.

Circa: Late 19th - early 20thc .

Item No: 09-180

Headcloth (Iket kepala). Jambi.

A fine old hand drawn calligraphic head-cloth with four sitting birds surrounding a central motif containing stylised calligraphic verses. The border fringe is typical of Jambi designs, though the true origin of these batik cloths is not clear, some believe they came from Cirebon and were exported to Sumatra, though others believe they were made in Jambi or Bengkulu for local use.


Material: Fine cotton.

Size: 88x82cm.

Circa: 19th century.

Item No: 10-319

Central Asia

Textile Art





From the lands of Central Asia sprang some of the most lively and expressive textiles, suzanis and ikats being the best known amongst them. In Uzbekistan, suzani-embroidery was both, a communal and a female task, with an important social function in marriage and dowry system. The young bride was expected to demonstrate her artistic creativity and industriousness and many decorations were prepared particularly around the bridal chamber. Made by nomadic and village people alike, each centre had its own recognisable style.

Also highly honoured are the vibrant and impressionistic ikat weavings or abrabandi. Usually made by men, they involved a complicated weaving technique of tying and dyeing the warp for the pattern. This was a skill taken to great heights, the more colours that were produced in an ikat, the more prestigious the garment became.

(Please click on thumbnail image for more info.)

Bridal face cover (kimishek). Turkistan.

An embroidered bridal face cover

or kimishek worn as a protective garment by Karakalpak women of the Aral Delta

region of what now is North Uzbekistan. 

CLICK images to enlarge.

Material: Silk, cotton, felt, ikat adras.

Circa: Late 19th or early 20th c.

Item No: 10-327

Embroidery (suzani). Nurata, Uzbekistan.

A suzani from the Nurata region of Uzbekistan. Embroidered with silk threads in a chain (yurma) stitch and (basma) couching on a cotton (carboz) base with a central star motif and bouquet arrangements spreading out from the corners.

Material: Silk on cotton .

Size: 210x170cm.

Circa: Late 19th century .

Item No: 07-081

Embroidery (Shakrisabz suzani). Shakrisabz, Uzbekistan.

The distinctive feature of the Shakrisabz group of suzani is their lively and colourful design, here incorporating flowers and bodum motifs, intricately embroidered on silk with miniscule detail.

Size: 316x260cm.

Circa: Late 19th century .

Item No: 07-090

Suzani border fragment (Suzani). Uzbekistan.


Two old suzani border panels sewn together to make a delightful hanging.  


Material: Cotton and silk.

Size: 300x63cm.

Circa: Late 19th century.

Item No: 09-190

Prayer suzani (Joinamaz). Shakrisabz, Uzbekistan.



A deep aubergine coloured silk base with fine silk work. A joinamaz is the name given to an arch shaped or prayer suzani. This piece would have formed part of the dowry gift given by the bride to her husband to be. It may have been intended to cover a niche or simply used as a wall decoration. Beautiful, vivid colours with the traditional almond shaped (bodum) motif, or sometimes known in Uzbekistan as the pepper motif. The border outline is also a typical characteristic of Shakrisabz embroidery. The back is lined with beige coloured Russian chintz.


Material: Silk on silk.

Size: 125x95cm.

Circa: Late 19th century .

Item No: 07-059

Suzani (Nim suzani). Bukhara, Uzbekistan.


A charming late nineteenth century nim Suzani from Bukhara in a prayer design (Mihrab). Blue embroidery on five panels of natural cotton.


Material: Hand-spun cotton .

Size: 173 x 126cm.

Circa: Late 19th century.

Item No: 06032

Embroidery (suzani). Nurata region, Uzbekistan.


A gorgeous late 19th century suzani embroidered with silk threads in chain yurma stitch and basma couching on a cotton base. Beautifully balanced design of central star floral filled rosette and floral spray motifs from the corners, surrounded by a border pattern of continuous rows of alternating flower heads. 


Material: Silk on cotton .

Size: 245x150cm.

Circa: Late 19th century .

Item No: 07-061

Embroidery (suzani). Bukhara, Uzbekistan.


A marvelous and well preserved Suzani from the Emirate of Bukhara.  Poppy blossoms and shrubs surround an eight-pointed star in the central field, diagonal bouquets expand into the corners and a repeat of plants and flowering twigs form the ornamental borders. This piece has a very interesting provenance. 


Material: Cotton embroidered with silk.

Size: 197x150cm.

Circa: 1880.

Item No: 10-339

Green mantle (chyrpe). Turkmenistan.


A green Tekke Turkoman women's mantle, silk embroidered with stylized tulips. Tradtionally worn over the tunic (kurta) covering the head and shoulders with long vestigal sleeves hanging down the back and joined together by an embroidered band.


Material: Silk on silk.

Circa: Mid to late 19th century.

Item No: 07-058

Other textiles





A selection of traditional textiles showing particular decorative techniques, materials, colours and designs.

I personally collected these pieces for their aesthetic value and for their cultural relevance.


They include examples of weaving, lace work, painting, appliqué, patchwork, embroidery and resist-dyeing from around the world. 


(Please click on thumbnail image for more info.)

Altar Cloth (Karchop). India.


A delicate Hindu Altar cloth of metallic twine embroidery work (zardozi). Incorporatng a central star motif and boteh design in each corner, the script at the lower edge could be Sanskrit. Green silk base with magenta border.


Material: Silk with metallic twine.

Size: 80x80cm.

Circa: Late 19th century.

Item No: 06-048

Blouse (Kebaya). Malaysia.

A beautiful bright lace-worked sheer cotton Kebaya, the traditional and elegant attire worn by a Peranakan lady. 

Item No: 13-361

Bread cover (Sofreh). Sirjan, Iran.

In Persian these square shaped textiles are called Sofrehs.  They are generally flat-woven and feature a broad repertoire of abstract designs displaying a vivid colour palette. They are traditionally used for a number of purposes such as a surface cloth during the process of bread making, or simply as a bread wrapper. Colours: Indigo blue in outer fields, red abrash centre field and striped borders.


Material: Lambs wool and cotton, natural colours.

Size: 133x111cm.

Circa: 1950.

Item No: 09-227

Chest cover . Rabat, Morocco.

Each Moroccan city developed its own particular style of embroidery and in Rabat textiles are generally floss silk on linen in reversible satin stitch. The ground is a fine delicate gauze covered with embroidery before it gets embellished by this intense handiwork.


Material: Silk on cotton .

Size: 138x85cm.

Circa: late 19th or early 20th century.

Item No: 07-060

Dancing Skirt . Kuba, Congo.


A long ritual skirt cloth made by the Kuba people of the Republic of Congo.  A geometric pattern embellished with cowrie shells and a pompom border. The process of making these lustrous cloths is extremely time consuming, involving first peeling the fibres from the raffia plant, then dyeing, followed by weaving, embroidery and trimming.


Material: Raffia fibre.

Size: 307x48cm.

Circa: 20th Century.

Item No: 08-106

Cushion cover . Zemmour, Berber people, Middle Atlas, Morocco.


A splendid example of rural weaving from the Zemmour people of the Middle Atlas Mountains.  The Zemmour were a migrating people who never remained in one place for long and over time had accumulated a rich repertoire of weaving techniques and textile patterns that are evident in all manner of objects from bags to blankets.  

This soft and supple cushion cover contains extremely intricate and elegant weave variations interspersed with zig zag and diamond patterned rows of raised wool pile.

The colours are soft tones of red, brown, orange, ochre, blue and green. Some minor repair. 


Material: Wool .

Size: 95x67cm.

Circa: 1900-1910.

Item No: 11-348

Head-dress . Ida ou Nadif, Morocco.

A bridal head-dress worn by the Ida or Nadif Berber people of the Anti-Atlas mountains of Morocco. Bright and lustrous multicolored bobbles on deep red woven ground. The Berber of the Anti-Atlas region created impressive garments using age-old techniques of weaving and patterning.

Material: Wool and silk.

Size: 122x79cm.

Circa: 1925-1950.

Item No: 07-071

Altar hanging (Kalimkari). Rajastan, India.


A decorative cloth depicting Krishna, hangings like this were draped behind the Altar in a Hindu temple.  


Material: Starched handspun cloth, painted..

Size: 190x140cm.

Circa: late 19th century.

Item No: 06-050

Ceremonial shawls (Odhani). Gujarat, India.


Two fine silk shawls, dyed in bold colours using an intricately executed tie-dye bandhani technique with a central design of dominant and contrasting moon motifs.  Women in Gujarat adorned themselves with these types of head coverings. The finer the knots the richer the garment, this type usually the preserve of the upper echelons of Hindu society and probably worn for a ceremony such as a wedding. Click the image to enlarge.


Material: Silk with metallic twine.

Size: 160x130 (white),170x145cm (yellow).

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 06-043, 06-044

Pig trap (TunTun). Iban, Sarawak, Borneo.

Carved ancestral figures erected on long rods-so called Pig Traps/tuntun were made by the Iban people of Borneo to trap wild boars. The traditional posture is with the hands to the chin and rested elbows on the knees - the fourth carving in the series could have been used as a paddy field protector. Ironwood/Tapang wood.

Item No: 10-256

Pillow cover . Zemmour people, Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco.



Among the most impressive rural flatweaves in Morocco are the masterful and dense compositions made by the Zemmour people. 

Incorporating row upon row of finely patterned bands in traditional Berber designs and a variety of colours, these rich weavings really do stand out.

It was customary for a Zemmour wife to demonstrate her weaving adeptness to her new family and thus enhance her credentials. This early example was used in the home as a pillow cover.


Material: Wool warp and weft.

Size: 185x45cm.

Circa: 1900-1910.

Item No: 11-349

Sarong - skirt cloth . Los Palos, East Timor.


A Sarong woven in two parts from hand-spun cotton using the ikat/futus technique to make the decorative rows of geometric motifs. Home-grown dyed yarn in indigo, soft browns and rust colours. Symetrical on both front and back with sewn sides.  Sarong were important items in ceremonies and for gift exchanges. Few weavings like this are found in western collections. 


Material: Hand-spun cotton .

Size: 115x49cm.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 10-321

Arts and Crafts (Decorative panels). Austria.


A set of 4 woven and stitched decorative panels in a chequered and floral pattern, possbily Austrian.

Any information on these would be appreciated.


Material: Fine wool, cotton, silk.

Size: 85x85cm, 73x73, 56x46cm, 23x16cm (2).

Circa: est. 1900.

Item No: 13-352

Shawl (Tanshifa). Algeria.

Silk threads embroidered on a very fine gauze base depicting bouquets of wild flowers. Tanshifa/scarves, were traditionally worn by Algerian women as head coverings on ceremonial occasions.


Material: Silk embroidery on fine cotton..

Size: 246x39cm.

Circa: Late 19th century.

Item No: 08-104

Temple cloth . Laos.

Tai Lue people

CLICK on image for detail

Material: Cotton woven.

Size: 92x23cm excluding fringe.

Circa: Mid 20th century or earlier.

Item No: 09-231

Temple cloth, Laos.

Tai Lue people 

Material: Cotton woven

Size: 74x23cm excluding fringe.

Circa: Mid 20th century or earlier.

Item no:09-248










Item No: 09-248

Sleeping rug (Adiyaman Tulu). Turkey.


It's impossible not to have a reaction to these long and unruly goat hair sleeping rugs. Simple yet audacious in design with an intense palette creating a bold impact in any modern environment. Colours: ivory, red, ochre, russet, orange.


Material: Unspun Angora goat hair .

Size: 114x140cm.

Circa: 1950.

Item No: 13-360

Chinese Kesi panel (Uncut dragon robe panel). China.

A very striking Chinese costume panel. Originally a section of a dragon robe, silk woven with gold metallic-wrapped thread - intricate kesi tapestry technique. Professionally conserved. Click images to enlarge.


Material: Silk - double-sided, silk backed, aniline.

Size: 200x60cm.

Circa: 19th century.

Item No: 07-079

Wrap-around skirt (oi m'bon). Vietnam.

The Mnong are a very small and isolated group from the Dac Lac province, Central highlands, Vietnam. A traditional dress of a Mnong female includes a wrap-around skirt, here created from three woven panels joined side by side, with a dominant geometric pattern in the centre portion of the garment. Weaving was one of the essential skills of Mnong women who were clever at adding abstract design elements and are said to be significant for men when choosing their brides. Woven on a back-strap loom and then embroidered. Light embellishments and fringe tufts. 


Material: Cotton embroidered.

Size: 105x69cm.

Circa: 1920.

Item No: 10-274

Wrap-around skirt (oi m'bon). Vietnam.

Dac Lac province, central highlands


Material: Cotton embroidered.

Size: 126x69cm.

Circa: 1920.

Item No: 10-276

Wrap-around skirt (oi m'bon). Vietnam.

Dac Lac province, central highlands


Material: Cotton embroidered.

Size: 105x69cm.

Circa: 1920.

Item No: 10-277

Cushion cover (Yastik). Anatolia.


The Yastik (meaning pillow or cushion) is used among nomadic groups in Anatolia, originally made as a bolster covering, it looks like a minature rug.  This piece contains a luxurious knotted pile and is decorated with a rythmic meandering vine design that could refect the tribal weaving tradition from Gelveri or Kirsehir.  Not for sale.


Material: Wool ghordes knot.

Size: 90x45 cm.

Circa: 1870.

Item No: 10-323




Throughout history, beads have been traded as valuable items held in high regard in ritual, for festive occasions, for body ornamentation, and even for their mystical potency and symbolic significance. Multi-coloured seed beads were a particularly favoured type that gave rise to many beadwork traditions. Elaborate designs appliquéd or embroidered onto garments enhanced the aesthetic worth of a textile and sometimes the talismanic value creating a source of strength to the wearer. The old Borneans interplay between the supernatural and natural world produced striking bead art, specific powerful motifs threaded onto objects and textiles reflected social status and assumed magical qualities to mediate between society and the spirit world. The seed beaded skirts traditionally worn by Kirdi women of Cameroon assert, through the array of geometric patterns, their identity and relevant symbolic aspects of their group. Stitched, embroidered, threaded or netted, all are testament to the great artistry of the beadwork cultures.

(Please click on thumbnail image for more info.)

Baby carrier . Kalimantan, Borneo.

The highly treasured baby carrier baskets even came decorated in buttons and this is a rare type with a design that belonged to Long Gelat group of the upper Makaham river in East Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo.  The interior of the basket is made of rattan type called 'segak', which is attached to the seat of the basket. The three vertical wooden supports have roughly carved facial impressions. Lit: Hornbill and dragon, by Bernard Sellato). 


Material: Beads & buttons, rattan on cotton fabric over a wooden frame .

Size: 47cm (w)x31cm(h).

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-251

Baby basket panel . Sarawak, Borneo.


Fine beaded panels were previously attached to baby baskets of the Orang Ulu (river people), notably the Kenyah/Kayan. Powerful human figure motifs, spirit faces, hornbills, tigers and dragon were popular designs frequently exchanged between the ethnic groups with some restricted to the upper ranks of society- they served to protect the baby from malevolent forces. Material: glass seed beads.


Circa: 20th century .

Item No: 08-111

Beaded head bands (Fa-lap). China.

The Punti women of Hong Kong wore beaded headbands like these for weddings.


Material: Seedbeads on cotton.

Circa: Early 20th century.

Item No: 08-116, 08-118a

Beaded purses . Anatolia.

Two old bead embroidered purses from Anatolia, remarkable decorative handwork. 


Material: Seed beeds, interior of strong cotton fibre .

Size: 12 x15 cm.

Item No: 07-097a&b

Left: In Maloh society, strong spirit motifs were restricted and signify the status of the wearer.

Item No: 09-209

Beaded skirt cloth (kain lekok). Kalimantan.

The Maloh people from West Kalimantan in Borneo, are experts in fine beadwork. They displayed skirts like this on important festive and ceremonial occasions: birth, marriage, death, great harvests. 


Material: Beads, sequins and shell embellishment on a cotton base with felt border .

Size: 50x45cm.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 08-112

Ceremonial headband . Kalimantan, Indonesia.

An Iban ceremonial headband and two armbands. 


Material: Beads, claws on cotton frame.

Size: 18x4cm & 10x2cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-316

Modesty aprons (Cache-sexe). Cameroon.

Beaded "modesty aprons" worn by young girls and women for ceremonial occasions. The brightly coloured geometric patterns reflect designs of the Kirdi mountain people, though patterns were exchanged by a number of neighboring Cameroon groups. The beads are held in place around the lower waist by a fibre cord and it was the local tradition of the farming Kirdi people to decorate their bodies with the aprons and other beaded adornments serving custom and aesthetic expression.   Around the early 1960's the government restricted their public use.


Material: Glass beads, cowrie shells.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 09-202g

Modesty aprons (Cache-sexe). Cameroon.

Beaded 'modesty aprons' such as these are worn by young girls and women for ceremonial occasions. The brightly coloured geometric patterns in varied configurations were exchanged by Kirdi women and their neighboring groups. The beads are held in place around the lower waist by a fibre cord.  


Material: Beads, cowrie shells.

Circa: Mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-279, 10-291, 10-293, 10-280 (clockwise)

Ornament/fastener (Peranakan people). Malaysia.

Decorative ornament or fastener of some sort, in fine rocaille beads, worn by a child.

Material: Beads.

Size: 30x17cm.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 08-109

Shaman's cross-belt (manang gerangi). Sarawak, Borneo.


A shaman's ritual cross-belt from a Kanowit longhouse, near Kapit in Sarawak.

Ritual accessories such as this elaborate cross-belt would be worn by a shaman-medicine man or manang as he is known by the Iban people of Borneo.  The traditional shaman was a religious specialist who's role was important in Iban culture as his task was to diagnose and treat disease by directly communicating with the spirit world to dispel malevolent forces.  During a trance dance the cross-belt is hung acoss the body of the shaman, along with other accourtrements that might include bronze bracelets and amulets, he would dance himself into a trance against the sound of beating drums.


Containing approximately eighty small and beautifully carved wooden statues in an extraordinary variety of poses and expressions. Strung with beads, seeds, shells, bear claws, brass bells and a flattened cone shell positioned at the centre of the torso and back. 



Material: Hard wood, beads, shells, bear claws.

Circa: Early to mid 20th century.

Item No: 10-260



Here are my textiles that I have acquired in my travels

throughout the world, taking care that each piece

is authentic and is part of the textile tradition of

the culture in which it was produced.


I hope that you enjoy looking through my

collection, and please contact me if you

are interested in acquiring a piece.











For more images or general information regarding my pieces, please contact me at