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Girl’s Breast Cloth (kemben) with Design of Polka-Dotted Central Field and Border of “Broken Dagger” (parang rusak) Motif

Artist Culture
Javanese
Date
1950s
Material
Plain-weave cotton with hand-drawn wax-resist decoration (batik tulis) and stitch-dyeing decoration (tritik) with synthetic dyes
Made in
Surakarta, Central Java province, Indonesia, Asia
Classification
Costume & clothing, textiles
Current Location
Not on view
Dimensions
13 × 53 9/16 in. (33 × 136 cm)
Credit Line
William K. Bixby Trust for Asian Art, by exchange
Rights
Contact Us
Object Number
471:2018
NOTES
The wide rectangle at the center of this cloth was tie-dyed in purple using tritik, meaning “dotted,” a stitch-resist technique. Using a needle and thread, the artist stitched and then pulled taut areas intended to resist certain dye colors. The borders feature the hand-drawn, wax-resist parang rusak (broken dagger) pattern. The purple, brown, and black colors come from synthetic dyes. Its relatively small size suggests that it may have been worn by a young girl or left in the ocean as a sacrificial offering to Ratu Kidul, Goddess of the South Sea.
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