Spottiswoode Gallery

Sumatra | early 20th C Batak ceremonial textile <i>Ulos Mangiring</i>

Sumatra | early 20th C Batak ceremonial textile Ulos Mangiring

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Textiles: Pre 1940: Item # 1388338
Spottiswoode Gallery
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Sumatra, Batak people, Toba, Silindung, c. 1930

Commercial cotton, natural and commercial dyes, warp ikat, continuous supplementary warp weaving

A single dark rose red panel, the centrefield containing white chevron ikat on blue-black, interspaced by plain stripes of white and a lighter red. Pinstripes in dark maroon, yellow and white supplementary warp line each of the primary stripes, creating a delicate rhythm. The plain side panels are marked off by groups of pinstripes, and the selvedge has a traditional broad white borders. A ribbon of white scrolling floral motifs finishes the ends, followed by long, very finely twisted fringes.

Context: Ulos mangiring is a central textile in the Batak repertoire and its pretty, lively design reflects its ceremonial functions. It is “worn as a shouldercloth by Toba women with young children, and by Toba to funeral rites for deceased children. In the ritual context, the cloth is particularly associated with fertility and children—a carry cloth (parompa) given to a daughter by her parents at the birth of her first child; a gift to a woman from her parents to encourage fertility.” (Niessen, Legacy 307) Illust. Niessen 308, fig. Cat. 5.7b.

Condition: The textile shows a little wear but is overall in very good condition. There are a couple of minor waxed repairs that are not very obvious (see images). The colours are deep and clear, the cotton is very fine-grained and still robust, quite crisp, with a slightly slubby texture.

81 cm x 184 cm + 11 cm fringes at each end