A RARE ‘SHIP CLOTH’ PALEPAI, SUMATRA, INDONESIA
Handmade of cotton with a plain, undyed cotton base weave, onto which brightly coloured threads in yellows, reds, black and gold, are woven to create the intricate patterns, this example with a large ship which stretches to cover almost the full length of the cloth, 137cm long, 48cm wide.
Proveance: Private UK collection, acquired prior to 1990,
Footnotes: Such cloths were made during the 18th and 19th centuries, but have not been made for over a century resulting in a loss of knowledge about not only the method of production, but also the significance of their iconography. It is thought that there are only around 150 of them still in existence, the most spectacular of which are in museums around the world. For a more intricate example see the Palepai in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession number: 2010.484.2.