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Coffin cover with stylised Islamic calligraphy

mid 20th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Jambi Sumatra Indonesia
    mid 20th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    cotton, dyes: batik
    290.0 x 105.0 cm
    Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2007
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Large calligraphic batiks known as 'kerudung' (literally, 'shroud') function 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.'

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, Sept. 2013

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Margaret White, TAASA Review, "Calligraphic batik cloths in Southeast Asia: Meaning behind the words", pg. 22-23, Sydney, Sep 2014, 23 (colour illus.).