Christina (Tina) van Zuylen (Indonesia, Java, 1861 - 1930)*
Woman’s Hip Wrapper (Sarung Kelengan), circa 1880 - circa 1890
Textile, Hand-drawn wax resist (batik) on machine-woven cotton, natural dyes, waxed signature, 41 7/8 x 84 5/8 in. (106.5 x 215 cm)
Inger McCabe Elliott Collection (M.91.184.474)
*) Christina (Tina) van Zuylen is the sister of Eliza (Lies) van Zuylen
The gentle kelengan color scheme was worn by Indo-European brides on their wedding nights. Afterward such cloth were carefully stored and kept for funerary use. Though a batik kelengan could also serve as Peranakan mourning wear, the motifs here do not seem appropriate for that purpose. The fragrant, early summer flowers of the badan suit a young woman on the verge of mature life. The upper border of clover leaves stands for luck and married happiness. The swallow in the badan is the messenger of approaching summer. Although nineteenth century wearers probably were not aware of this, in both Europe and China swallow’s eggs were eaten during fertility rites in earlier times (Chevalier & Gheerbrant, 1988).
Chevalier, J., & Gheerbrant, A. (1988). Dictionnaire des Symboles. (Paris: Robert Laffont/Jupiter).