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An image of Kain songket by

Sumatra, Indonesia

Kain songket
Other titles:
Kain sontak
Place of origin
circa 1890
Media category
Materials used
silk with coloured brocade

75.0 x 215.0 cm

Gift of the Kidd Family 1995
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

One of the most prestigious of locally produced cloths is the sumptuous, golden'kain songket', referred to as 'cloth of gold'. While the gold thread used for such cloth was from local Indonesian sources, the silk thread was mostly imported. The high quality of the gold ensures a surprisingly supple fabric and the resultant luxurious robes were fitting symbols of wealth and prestige for royal court centres throughout the Indonesian region. Palembang, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Srivijaya, had long had a wealthy class able to indulge in such luxurious cloths.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2006

Bibliography (3)

Mattiebelle Gittinger, Splendid symbols: textiles and tradition in Indonesia, Singapore, 1990.

Robyn Maxwell, Textiles of Southeast Asia : tradition, trade and transformation, Canberra, 1990.

Wanda Warming and Michael Gaworski, The world of Indonesian textiles, Japan, 1981.

Exhibition history (1)

Symbols and Ceremonies: Indonesian Textile Traditions, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Apr 2006–28 May 2006