Indonesia, Bali, Buleleng, Singaraja, c. 1930
Silk, aniline dyes, weft ikat (endek)
An early graphic silk body-wrapper (anteng), woven in the Singaraja area in the regency of Buleleng in north Bali, with a fine polychrome weft ikat design. Its dynamic, continuous design of shimmering white lines radiating outwards from a central column of claret lozenges is made festive by accents in apple green, mango yellow and violet. Darker, overdyed aubergine provides a 3-dimensional effect, and there are also touches of hand-applied turquoise. Hooked lines, arrowheads and patterns internal to the main lozenges that repeat the external pattern are distinctive of Balinese ikat (endek) design, and allow each unit to flow into the next. The row of triangles lining the long edges are known as gigi barong, the “teeth” of the mythical creature barong, which are also a characteristic element of the sacred cepuk ikat textiles. At each end, the weft is dyed the same dusky pink as the warp, and the piece is finished with long, grouped fringes.
Context: Endek textiles were once the exclusive prerogative of the princely families of Bali, whose women wove them within the palace compounds. They were worn on special occasions in the palace and temple as luxurious wrappers and shawls, and frequently combined with supplementary designs. In the early 20th C in Buleleng, endek in small strips like this example came to be made without supplementary patterning. These cloths were worn as body-wrappers or shoulder-cloths, and combined in 2 widths to form a hip wrapper.
The textile is in excellent condition, with no holes, stains, or damage. The colours are clear and vivid, slightly softened with age. The fabric has the texture of fine, slightly crisp raw silk, with a light sheen, and the handle of the cloth is firm.
40 cm x 250 cm plus up to 20 cm fringes at each end.