Ceremonial body wrapper or banner - ROM2018_16619_23


Ceremonial body wrapper or banner

Medium:Chintz: cotton tabby, painted mordants, block-printed dyes
Geography: Made in western India for the Sumatran market
Date: 1700-1799
194 x 278 cm
Object number: 2015.28.1
Credit Line: This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust Fund
On view
Gallery Location:The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume

Ceremonial body wrapper or banner with a large sunburst (matahari) design. Many communities in Indonesia desired Indian chintz not for daily fashion, but for ceremonial display. In the great courts and ports of Java and Sumatra, elites wrapped their bodies in enormous chintz cloths. Villagers on Sulawesi island prized long pieces to display as ritual banners.

Southern Sumatra had become economically dependent on the pepper trade, which brought great riches. It also had close ties to Java, and many of the Indian textiles that survive from the region show Javanese influence in terms of iconography and form. Most spectacular are the large cloths, made of two lengths sewn together, which were probably worn like the Javanese dodot, a wide waist wrapper used by aristocratic court society. Indian versions often feature large diamond or lozenge shapes at their centre. Another, less common, genre features a centre with a sunburst motif—either red or more rarely blue—surrounded by faintly printed flower sprigs (as in this example).

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