Skirt cloth

This 'kain sembagi', a kind of skirtcloth worn tied around the waist is dyed using the mordant and resist dyeing technique on cotton tabby weave cloth with 'prada' (gold application). It features repeat pattern of interlocking diamonds enclosing floral motif with 'tumpal' (sawtooth pattern) ends.Mordant-dyeing describes a process of using a mordant as a fixing agent to bond the dye to the cloth. Resist-dyeing uses either molten wax or moist mud as resists to prevent the dye from colouring those areas. These two techniques may be used separately or in combination during the dyeing process. Large quantities of Indian textiles produced in various centres in Gujarat, the Deccan and Coromandel Coast were traded across Southeast Asia until the end of the 19th century. Among their functions, they served as attire for royalty and as diplomatic gifts, as displays on festive occasions, and as clothing for the populace at rites of passage and other ceremonies. These trade cloths had a strong influence on the development of Southeast Asia textiles as it is thought local makers began producing cloth, possibly borrowing patterns and motifs from earlier Indian examples, to make up for the shortage of the Indian ones that began to decline in numbers.

Late 19th century
European manufacture
Gross measurement: H: 256.0 x W: 109.5 cm
Accession No.
Cotton tabby, gold leaf; block printed
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Previously in the Roger Hollander Collection