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Title

Kain songket


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

One of the most prestigious of locally produced cloths is the colourful silk weft ikat textiles of Palembang in Sumatra. This elaborate ‘red and gold’ example is woven with an intricate pattern in a supplementary weft weave (‘songket’) which replicates the motifs of the coveted ‘patola’, and uses, as in this piece, gold metal-wrapped threads. These textiles were folded lengthwise and worn over the shoulder or wrapped around the waist. They were usually worn on important ceremonial occasions. The richer and more sumptuous the display of gold on any particular textile, the greater the wealth and prestige of the wearer’s family. Palembang, on the eastern coast of Sumatra, was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Srivijaya. As a wealthy trading power in Southeast Asia, it attracted Indian and Chinese traders, who introduced silk and the technique of silk weaving. A social class wealthy enough to enjoy such luxurious textiles ensured their production.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.346.


Details


Place where the work was made

Sumatra Indonesia


Media category

Textile


Materials used

Songket, silk, gold thread and natural dyes


Dimensions

86.0 x 203.0 cm


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Dr John Yu 1998


Location

Not on display


Accession number

119.1998



Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Robyn Maxwell, Textiles of Southeast Asia : tradition, trade and transformation, Canberra, 1990. Compare with cat.no. 258

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 346-347 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 347 is a detail of this work.