Enquiry about object: 1968

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Acehnese Woman’s Embroidered Vest (Baju Mesirat)

Gayo or Alas People, Central Aceh, Indonesia
early 20th century

width: 42cm, length: 43cm

Available - Enquire


UK private collection

This vest of red calico cotton is finely and densely embroidered with red, green and yellow stitching and with applied black cotton bands. Such embroidery, known as tabour work, was done by Gayo men of central and highlands Aceh in the early part of the twentieth century using old, foot-pedalled sewing machines imported by the Dutch.

The vest is similarly embroidered front and back and with bands of geometric motifs in keeping with the Islamic aesthetic.

The vest is in particularly good condition particularly given its age. There is minor fraying here and there, but there are no significant holes or repairs, and the condition remains robust and stable.

A very similar example is illustrated in Maxwell (2003, p. 404).


Leigh, B., Hands of Time: The Crafts of Aceh, Penerbit Djambatan, 1989.

Maxwell, R., Textiles of Southeast Asia: Tradition, Trade and Transformation, Periplus, 2003.

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