This cloth is an exceptional example of Indonesian batik with Arabic calligraphy. The design motifs have great clarity and variety. The central motif has eight small motifs which circle it, resonating with Buddhist cosmology and Islamic numerology, being the eight paths to Buddhist enlightenment and the nine Islamic saints of Java. The double bladed sword of Ali is also visible. In Java, large rectangular calligraphic batiks are known as 'kerudung', literally 'shroud'. They are worn wrapped around the head and draped on the body as a shoulder cloth. Other possible uses are as temporary covers for coffins or tombs in funerary rituals, as well as ceremonial hangings or banners.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2015.
Cloth with Islamic inscriptions
batik, cotton, dyes
264.5 x 91.0 cm
Purchased with funds provided by the VisAsia Dinner Fund to commemorate the ‘Arts of Islam' exhibition 2008.
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Beyond Words: Calligraphic Traditions of Asia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Aug 2016–30 Apr 2017