Woman's ceremonial skirt (kain inu)

Paminggir peoples
19th century
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General Description

The dominant design features on this early Lampung skirt are a procession of aquatic-like underworld creatures embroidered with silk floss on an indigo ground. Surrounded by earthy ikat tones, these fantastic creatures suggest the earth’s bounty and the highly charged fertility that rites of passage—particularly marriage—embody.

While the exact meaning of this imagery has been lost, it is rooted in the distant past. The anthropomorphic creatures on this ceremonial skirt, with their S-curve bodies and arching tendrils, are similar to those found on the tympanum of cast drums from the region’s Bronze Age. Stylistically, the images belong to a curvilinear artistic tradition that once spanned a vast area, from Asia’s far western steppes to ancient China to the island of Borneo and beyond.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.