Wraparound skirt (kain panjang): cloud design (megamendung)

DATE:
c. 1910
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Handdrawn batik on commercially woven cotton
CLASSIFICATION:
Textiles
DIMENSIONS:
98 1/4 × 41 1/4 in. (2 m 49.56 cm × 104.78 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Not On View
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund
OBJECT NUMBER:
1991.58

General Description

Abstract blue clouds float across a brilliant red sky. The clouds on this cloth are identified as megamenlang (simply, clouds) in contrast to those with rounded ends, which are megamendung (threatening clouds). Both clouds are welcome for an often parched land. This style of rendering is derived from 18th-century Chinese sources. In Cirebon, such cloths were used as decoration in aristocratic bed chambers and worn by sultans.

It took several months to complete a batik with the cloud motif because the cloth had to be dyed and waxed six separate times to achieve the variations in colors on the clouds and to fill in the contrasting background. Natural indigo and red mengkudu dyes were traditionally used to produce the blue and red colors. This traditional pattern enjoyed a revival in the 20th century and is accomplished with synthetic dyes.

Excerpt from

  • Label text, Waxed: Batik from Java, 2016.