Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shameless show-off

I can't help my self from showing these off, I just got them from the framers today.
I bought these antique fabrics last month at a private showing at Mrs A's house. They are from Sumatran wedding pillows. I am still researching the exact names, origins and uses.
The first photo is a Tirai cloth from Sumatra, it is still being finished (I will post a photo in all its 2.3m glory next week)
I had them framed properly as they are so beautiful and I want our kids and grand kids to have a beautiful piece from our life in Indonesia.
The photos don't do the colour and vibrancy justice. Now I just need GJ to get out his drill and hang these on our solid brick walls.


This information is from Mrs A

Tirai are found especially in the Lampung coastal region and in central Sumatra, but show up throughout most of the island. Tirai are wall hangings, usually about 30 to 60 cm wide, and ranging from one meter to 10 meters in length - though this last is unusual. A very common size will cover the top frame of a standard window, about 1 1/2 meters, or a door, about 1 meter. They're often red, with covered with elaborate embroidery. Many have a row of richly decorated hanging strips (shaped very much like the end of a man's necktie), in reds, blues, yellows, greens and white. They have a vivid, festive grace.

Ornamentation on a tirai is often of metallic threads, couched onto the fabric base. Flowers and birds are favorite designs, as are geometric patterns. The base is often velvet, stiffened with layers of newspaper, coarse stiff fabric, or simply multiple layers of muslin, and then backed with either plain cloth or a piece of batik which hides all the embroidery stitches and stitches securing the stiffening, sequins and other decorative items on the tirai.

Tirai were hung for both ceremonial and festive occasions. Honored guests would be met in a home hung with tirai, as would college graduates, wedding parties, etc. The house would be decorated with tirai also for selamatan. Not every homeowner would have enough; so they were often borrowed for special occasions. For this reason many tirai have the owner's name in indelible ink on the reverse side.

Tirai are an interesting example of 'travelling cloths'. They look very like the mirror work so famous in Gujarat, and mimic very neatly the toran door cover and chakla window covers popular there. The original cloths, and possibly many still found in Sumatra, came from India. Their popularity and the difficulty in getting a steady supply of cloths from far-away India, however, ensured that they were soon produced in Sumatra as well.

1 comment:

rika said...

those reminds me of my wedding *sigh*
My father is from Lampung and my Mom is from West Sumatera. Both places have the nicest cloth. Lampung is famous for its 'kain tapis' while the West Sumatera for its 'tenun'.

in Lampung, one family has its own 'kain tapis'. On the night before my wedding, my father whole family (more than 10 family) are 'debating' which kain should be placed near my 'throne' according to the tradition.. what a nightmare.. hehehehe