Pesisir Batik (Lasem)

Indonesia, Java, Lasem
Woman’s Hip Wrapper (Sarung Kelengan), circa 1910
Textile, Hand-drawn wax resist (batik) on machine-woven cotton, natural dyes, 42 1/4 x 77 5/8 in. (107.2 x 197.3 cm)
Inger McCabe Elliott Collection (M.91.184.44)

Worn by Peranakan women, kelengan batiks such as this one served during the extended mourning period for close famlity members. In later life of a woman rarely wore any other color. The sacred lotus, spouting each year from the mud, and its pods, full of seeds, promising renewed life, express a belief (in reincarnation and the continuation of the family tree). The banji background multiplies this wish a thousandfold (Williams, 1976).

Williams, C.A.S. (1976). Outilines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives, 3rd ed. (New York: Dover).

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