Pesisir Batik (Cirebon)

Indonesia, Java, Cirebon
Woman’s Hip Wrapper (Kain Panjang), 20th century
Textile, Hand-drawn wax resist on machine-woven cotton, synthetic dyes, 42 x 64 5/8 in. (106.7 x 164.1 cm)
Inger McCabe Elliott Collection (M.91.184.440)

The unusual size of this cloth indicates that it may have been meant as a hanging behind the bridal set of as a canopy over a Peranakan matrimonial bed. In spite of the hybrid style, the motifs—trees of life, ducks, and butterflies—possess traditional symbolic associations with marriage as does the watchful qilin. The trees bloom not only with flowers, representative of daughters, but also produce a “crop” of baby boys, the ideal of a Chinese family.

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