Pesisir Batik (Cirebon)

Indonesia, Java, Cirebon
Woman’s Hip Wrapper (Kain Panjang Kepala), early 20th century
Textile, Hand-drawn wax resist on machine-woven cotton, natural and synthetic dyes, 41 1/4 x 79 3/4 in. (104.77 x 202.56 cm)
Inger McCabe Elliott Collection (M.91.184.493)

This was likely a gift of a Peranakan bride, to be worn on formal occasions after she had borne children. As the design is not oriented toward a particular border, this cloth could be worn with either border down. To the Javanese ganggeng refers to fertility-giving water and implicitly to women, whose role is to care for all living things, expressed by the creatures of land, sea, and sky enclosed by the roundels. The mythical animals and the venomous scorpion are apotropaic symbols.

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