Minangkabau Ceremonial Waist Sash (Ikek Pinggang)

This ceremonial waist sash (ikek pinggang) was made by Minangkabau weavers out of cotton and gold. The Minangkabau are a historically matrilineal Muslim society organized in small democratically-run villages in Western Sumatra, known for their richly symbolic and regionally-specific ceremonial clothing. Since each village is run by democratic consensus, each locality has its own specific rules about what and how ceremonial clothing should be worn. Minangkabau people can therefore usually identify where strangers are from based on the way they wear their skirts, hats, and belts, or from the motifs woven into their clothing.

Western Sumatra has rich natural gold deposits and so it is hardly surprisingly that gold is one of the main decorative elements in much of the ceremonial clothing woven by Minangkabau textile artists. This waist sash is made out of cotton and gold wrapped thread, and is sturdier than its silk counterparts. The outward facing side of this belt is decorated in sequential gold compositions on a background of black cotton embellished with touches of red. This belt was likely woven in the village of Solok because it is much narrower than belts woven in other regions.

Circa: Early 20th century

Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia

Material: Cotton and gold-wrapped thread

Condition: Some minor discoloration

Dimensions: 150" x 3.5"

Inventory number: TX4276



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