Skip to main content

Shoulder Cloth (selendang) with Design of Phoenixes and Floral Motifs

Artist Culture
late 19th century
Plain-weave silk with hand-drawn wax-resist decoration (lokcan batik tulis) and natural dyes
Possibly made in
Rembang, Central Java province, Indonesia, Asia
Juwana, Central Java province, Indonesia, Asia
Costume & clothing, textiles
Current Location
Not on view
22 1/2 × 125 1/2 in. (57.2 × 318.8 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. George O. Carpenter
Public Domain
Object Number
Made on the north coast of Central Java province, this type of cloth is known as lokcan, meaning “blue silk,” as the ivory silk imported from China had a slight blue tinge. It features the quintessential motif of silk batiks: birds that resemble the phoenix, dyed in indigo blue top-dyed with kayu tinggi (reddish brown). The birds have two long tails that resemble wings, adding to their mythical character and are surrounded by other plants and flowers. The textile’s length allows for nine pairs of phoenix-like birds and the flow of curving elements throughout the cloth. Particularly interesting are the spiky extensions of the forms that give a striking character to the design and complement the solid dark shapes. The cloth is finished with kemadha, or striped fringe-like ends, as well as actual attached fringes.
- 1941
Mrs. George O. Carpenter [Caroline G. Carpenter (1858–1948)], St. Louis, MO, USA

1941 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Mrs. George O. Carpenter [1]

[1] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, November 6, 1941.
Scroll back to top