Minangkabau Woven Sash

Minangkabau Woven Sash

This Minangkabau woven sash (ikek pinggang) was made by Minangkabau weavers out of cotton, silk, wool, 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. The front of this waist sash is almost entirely woven out of gold-wrapped thread. It is only disrupted by regular diagonal red and black lines, which may be a version of the motif that symbolizes katupek, or containers used to boil rice. The back of the waist sash is decorated with red and black stripes.

The ends are decorated with red and gold horizontal bands of patterns, panels of red wool trade cloth, gold lace, and red and gold tassels. This belt was likely woven in the village of Solok because it is much narrower than belts woven in other regions. It also has a small piece of red wool trade cloth into its end panels, a common feature of ikek pinggang woven in Solok.

Circa: 19th to early 20th century

Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia

Material: Silk, cotton, wool, and gold-wrapped thread

Condition: Overall good, some places of fraying

Dimensions: 119" x 2.25"

Inventory number: TX4278



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