Woven Minangkabau Waist Sash (Ikek Pinggang)
This woven Minangkabau waist 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 covered in gold-wrapped thread. The design arises from the absence of the gold-wrapped thread. The red and black thread shows through in groups of four diagonal lines as well as in stepped lines that resemble a motif that references the calyx of the mangosteen fruit.
The ends of this waist sash are decorated with red and gold horizontal bands of patterns, panels of red wool trade cloth, and gold tassels. The maker embellished the panels of red trade cloth with gold-wrapped thread and sequins. This belt was likely woven in the village of Solok because it is much narrower than belts woven in other regions. The small pieces of red wool trade cloth inserted into the sash’s end panels is also a common feature of ikek pinggang woven in Solok.
Circa: 19th or early 20th century
Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia
Material: Cotton, wool, and gold-wrapped thread
Dimensions: 136" x 2.75"
Inventory number: TX4274