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Asian art

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Ceremonial cloth with elephant and tiger design

late 19th century


Unknown Artist


'Patola' are a type of bound and resist-dyed cloth. An exacting level of technical skill is required to achieve the extraordinary density and complexity of design for which they are so highly prized. In India, 'patola' saris had special significance and were used by certain communities for weddings and important life ceremonies. In Indonesia they were symbols of rank and prestige, and were valued gifts in social and political exchanges. But they were also regarded as ritual and magical cloths, their significance indicated not only by the manner in which they were preserved as heirlooms but by their influence on local textile design and production.

The repeated elephant and tiger motif on this 'patolu' is one of the major design types exported to Indonesia, predominantly Bali and Java. This design was highly prized, particularly in the courts of Central Java, where its use was restricted to princely houses. Other popular design motifs included variations on floral and geometric patterns, which became incorporated into the design language of the local textile traditions.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.342.


Place where the work was made

Gujarat India


late 19th century

Media category


Materials used

silk and natural dyes; double ikat technique


99.0 x 370.0 cm


Asian Collection Benefactors' Fund 2003


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 342 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 342 is a detail of this work.

Susan Scollay., Hali, 'The Art of Half the World', pg. 110-111, Mar 2004-Apr 2004, 110 (colour illus.), 111. no.1