The Lampung people inhabit the southern part of Sumatra right along the maritime routes connecting Europe to Far East Asia. As such Lampung developed a highly affluent merchant class. Rich traders invested a great deal in garments and jewelry which were status symbols indicating wealth, social standing and clan identity.
Elite Lampung women created a distinctive genre of tubular sarongs such as this example. They are commonly known as Tapis. Woven from silk and cotton threads, they were dyed with ancestral recipes and decorated with mostly metallic threads that were laid on top rather than needled through the ground. The metallic threads were then secured into place with thin silk couching. The motifs were generally ancestral with boats, signifying change or travel traditions, a large element of the vocabulary.
This cotton and silk tapis sarong is woven of raspberry fabric made in Sumatra in the early 20th century. It belonged to a noble woman from North Lampung. The base fabric is a woven striped cotton, which is then sewn together into a tubular structure. The textile artist then decorated with rows of repeated designs in gold-wrapped thread. This piece is adorned with various stripes, diamonds, and eight-pointed stars.
Circa: 20th Century
Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia
Material: Metal Embroidery on Cotton
Condition: Very Good
Inventory number: TX4948