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Woman’s Tubular Skirt (kain sarung) with Design of the “Thousand Boxes” (kotak seribu) Motif

Artist Culture
mid-19th century
Plain-weave cotton with hand-drawn wax-resist decoration (batik tulis) with natural dyes and applied gold leaf (prada)
Made in
Indramayu, West Java province, Indonesia, Asia
Costume & clothing, textiles
Current Location
Not on view
43 1/2 × 84 1/4 in. (110.5 × 214 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
A three-part panel known as the kepala, or head section, occupies the central portion of this textile. This area contains triangles placed in rows facing each other and narrow vertical rectangular bands flanking the triangles. The batik’s beautifully worked diagonal lattice pattern on either side of the head features animal and floral motifs. This intricate design testifies to the precise waxing skills of batik artists from Indramayu, a city on the north coast of West Java province. The fine diagonal dotting pattern on the background is called cocohan and resulted from a block with fine metal pins piercing the waxed ground before dyeing. The application of gold leaf across most of the textile likely indicates this garment was intended for a bride to wear at her wedding. The narrow band at the top has no gold decoration, because it would not be visible when the garment is rolled and tucked at the waist. Gold was expensive and was not applied where it would rub off.
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