Ceremonial cloth (tampan)

Paminggir peoples
19th century
more object details

General Description

The alternating colors, argyle patterns, smaller diamond shapes, rosettes, chevrons, coils, and key motifs add to this tampan’s charged movement and depth of field. The composition is anchored by an image of an ancestral boat with serpentine prows. One figure stands within a gate or shrine, while another, larger figure seems to present six objects, probably trophy heads. Above these figures, the tree of life form has been replaced by a splayed anthropomorphic figure whose lower “limbs” morph into two boats, each supporting two mythological creatures. Rising above the figure’s head and within its outstretched arms is a preening hornbill, a symbol of a successful headhunter.

The motifs on this tampan are a testament to the lasting power of mythic memory as this cloth was created following an early history of Dutch colonization and the area’s conversion to Islam from the 16th to 19th century.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.