Man's shoulder cloth or hip cloth (hinggi)

DATE:
19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Homespun cotton
CLASSIFICATION:
Textiles
DIMENSIONS:
with fringe: 108 × 42 3/4 in. (2 m 74.32 cm × 108.59 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Not On View
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, the Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles, gift of The Eugene McDermott Foundation
OBJECT NUMBER:
1983.91

General Description

This shoulder or hip cloth hinggi is distinguished by its rich colors, technical virtuosity, and natural materials. The end bands depict crocodiles and smaller avian creatures. The crocodile is a sacred animal marapu, an original ancestor, who is associated with royal lineages and the power of the underworld. The small birds between the crocodiles are symbols for the upper world. Combined, these motifs verify one’s pedigree and connection to the past. Prior to Dutch intervention in the early 20th century, the center of a noble’s hinggi also designated its owner’s status and particular kingdom. This one was once the property of the kings of Kanatang.

Hinggi were worn on ceremonial occasions, given as gifts of prestige and exchange, and most lavishly used as burial shrouds. A royal corpse could sometimes be wrapped in as many as one hundred or more blankets and lay in state for many years before secondary or final burial.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.