Gold Thread & Red Silk Songket,
length: 203cm; width: 76.5cm
This fine songket comes from the Malay people of the north-east coast of the Malay Peninsula. It comprises Chinese red silk brocaded with gold thread – an extremely time consuming process. The quantity of the gold thread used has given this textile a heaviness. The brocade work of this example is particularly fine. The central panel (badan) is filled with flower motifs: star motifs (bunga bintang beralih), a small eight petal flower (bunga kermunting cina – the Chinese rose myrtle), and floral chains (corak teluk berantai).
The panels at either end are decorated with
kepala punca motifs, the triangular bamboo shoot motif (pucuk rebung bunga kayohan) and a tulip-shaped motif (bunga tiga dara).
Although relatively large, the length-ways folds still visible in this cloth suggest that it was used as a ceremonial shoulder cloth (
kain selendag songket).
The textile is in a fine and stable condition. There is some minor discolouration from use and a few loose threads. The colours and gold work are still sharp. There are no holes. No significant conservation work on this piece should be necessary.
Inpan Selvanayagam, G., Songket: Malaysia’s Woven Treasure, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indians and Indonesian Textile Exchange, NGA, 2003.
Inventory no.: 559