Minangkabau Silk, Silver, & Gold Waist Sash

This ceremonial waist sash (ikek pinggang) was made by Minangkabau weavers out of silk, silver, and gold. The Minangkabau are a historically matrilineal Muslim society organized in small democratically-run villages in Western Sumatra that are 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 the motifs woven into their clothing.

Western Sumatra has rich natural gold deposits and so it is hardly surprising 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 silk and silver and gold wrapped thread. The weaver designed this textile with an all-over pattern of silver four-lobed motifs within gold diamonds made of small swirls. The silver designs may be a version of the balah kacang (split peanut) motif that admonishes the wearer to remember to always share things equally, the way a peanut is naturally split in equal parts. The gold swirls may be a variation of the barantai (chain) motif or the katupek (woven palm fronds) motif. Most of the motifs in Minangkabau weaving are also used in other artistic mediums and are connected to adat , or traditional wisdom.

Circa: 19th century

Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia

Material: Silk, silver wrapped thread, and gold wrapped thread

Condition: Good

Dimensions: 103" x 12"

Inventory number: TX4343



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