Inventory no.: 4091

Balinese Songket


Silk Kain Songket

Bali, Indonesia

late 19th-early 20th century

length: 190cm, width: 81cm

This woven weft ikat with supplementary weft weave is of silk, gold thread and coloured threads. Known as a saput songket or a kampuh songket, it comprises two matched panels that have been sewn together. (There is no tradition of warp ikats on Bali itself.) This, like most traditional woven ikats from Bali, has a purple-red background.

The design largely comprises bands of geometric patterns, although rows of what might be stylised masks (

topeng) also are visible. Those Balinese ikats that are more geometric often are given a Buleleng provenance, the regency along Bali’s northern coast (Hauser-Schaublin et al, 1991, p. 45).

Striking silk

ikats were produced in Bali and these often were intended for wear as sarongs, particularly on ceremonial occasions. Those of silk or mostly of silk such as the example here tended to be reserved for aristocrats or nobles, of whom there were many on Bali, on account of the numerous royal families and small kingdoms on the island and the polygamy of the royal families.

Related examples are illustrated in Maxwell (2003, p. 55) and Gillow (1995, p. 126-7).

The textile here is in fine condition. There is some fading but no obvious repairs.


Brand, M., et al., Cultures at Crossroads: Southeast Asian Textiles from the Australian National Gallery, Australian National Gallery, 1992.

Gillow, J.,

Traditional Indonesian Textiles, Thames & Hudson, 1995.

Hauser-Schaublin, B., M.L. Nabholz-Kartaschoff & U. Ramseyer,

Balinese Textiles, British Museum Press, 1991.

Maxwell, R.,

Sari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indians and Indonesian Textile Exchange, NGA, 2003.


private UK collection; this textile was included in an exhibition at the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow, ‘Ikat: Indonesian Textile Traditions’, December 2, 1978 to January 21, 1979. It comprised item 35 in the exhibition catalogue of the same name.

Inventory no.: 4091