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An image of Batik coffin cover with stylised Islamic calligraphy design by

Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Batik coffin cover with stylised Islamic calligraphy design
Place of origin
mid 20th century
Media category
Materials used
batik, cotton, dyes

290.0 x 105.0 cm

Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2007
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Large calligraphic batiks known as kerudung (literally, 'shroud') functioned as covers for coffins during funerary rituals, as well as ceremonial hangings and banners. Men wear smaller examples wrapped around the head or draped over the shoulders.

Muslims believe that the written word is God's word and therefore calligraphy is considered one of the highest art forms. It decorates and enhances an object's significance. It also confers protection. A predominant motif on this cloth is calligraphy in the form of birds arranged around lozenges. The stylised inscriptions along the edge of the
cloth are from the Qur'an and read 'There is no God, but God.' This textile was produced using a stamp technique called batik cap.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, September 2011.

Exhibition history (1)

One hundred flowers (2011), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Sep 2011–15 Jan 2012