Jul 25, 2007

Slendang (Shoulder Cloth)

Slendang (Shoulder Cloth)

1800s–early 1900s

Tabby weave, batik; cotton

Overall: 271 x 53.3 cm (106 11/16 x 21 in.)

Gift of Mrs. James J. Tracy 1917.31



Batik is an ancient technique that was practiced in India and throughout much of Southeast Asia. With the invention of the "canting" (a tool used to apply hot wax to fabric) in the 17th - 18th centuries, however, batik bacame a particular speciality of Java. This batik was produced in the central regions of Java where cloths were resist-dyed with traditional designs in white, indigo blue, and dark brown. The stylized wing and tail of the mythical bird Garuda and the sacred mountains seen here had cosmic significance and were reserved for textiles worn by nobility for ceremonial occasions or for dance costumes. The white, elongated diamond-shaped center is unique to batik shoulder cloths.

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