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Tampan Pasisir (Ship Cloth)

Tampan Pasisir (Ship Cloth)


Tabby weave with supplementary weft; cotton

Overall: 72.4 x 66.7 cm (28 1/2 x 26 1/4 in.)

Gift of The Textile Arts Club 1984.50



For several hundred years, until early in the present century, textiles of this type played an essential, symbolic role in virtually every southern Sumatran ritual. Since there is no written mythological literature in Indonesia, the exact meaning of the "tampan pasisir" (as this ritual cloth is called) remains unknown. Nevertheless, this fine weaving must be a kind of narrative. Ships, of course, were essential to the life of these island people, and using one as an image for safe passage from one of life's stages to another seems plausible. This rare piece--few textiles of its age and condition from the tropical climes of Indonesia survive--was a most welcome gift to The Cleveland Museum of Art from the Textile Arts Club in honor of its 50th anniversary.

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