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Woman’s Handkerchief (saputangan) with Design of Flowers, Birds, and Butterflies on a Swastika (banji) Background

Artist Culture
Plain-weave cotton with hand-drawn wax-resist decoration (batik tulis) with synthetic dyes
Made in
Pekalongan, Central Java province, Indonesia, Asia
Jewelry & personal accessories, textiles
Current Location
Not on view
18 7/8 × 20 1/2 in. (48 × 52 cm)
Credit Line
William K. Bixby Trust for Asian Art, by exchange
Public Domain
Object Number
A bird in flight and three floral sprays occupy the central roundel of this handkerchief. In the central square, there are four groups of potted flowering plants in the corners while four butterflies are arranged in the four cardinal directions. The background of this field features a design of interlocking shapes known as banji, a Chinese-derived motif symbolizing prosperity. The wide border has two rows of meandering banji motifs enclosing leafy scrolls while the four corners are anchored by squares within squares and stylized flowers. A pale blue color is seen in the handkerchief at the four corners and in the central roundel. The Chinese-influenced interlocking shapes and blue tone indicate this textile was made by someone of Peranakan descent (mixed Javanese and Chinese lineage) in Pekalongan on the north coast of central Java.
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