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    Lampung Woman’s Ceremonial Skirt (Tapis Kaca)

    Lampung People, South Sumatra, Indonesia
    early 20th century

    length: 118cm, width: 63.5cm (which makes it 127cm in total for both side), weight: 636g

    Available Enquire


    UK art market

    This tapis  (ceremonial, cylindrical skirt) is from the Abung people of North Lampung in South Sumatra. It remains closed along the seam and sewn as a skirt (rather than having been opened for display purposes).

    It comprises silk-cotton dyed with indigo, orange and brown/black and is couched with dozens of coils of metallic thread wrapped in gold each of which surrounds a small roundel of mirror (tapis kaca means ‘mirrored tapis‘) as well as bands of shiny metal sequins. The mirror fragments probably are lead-backed glass fragments.

    See Totton (2009, p. 90) for a related example.

    One name given to this genre of cloths – tapis tua – literally means the ‘ancient skirt’ (Maxwell, R., 2003, p, 184.) But the Abung term for this specific type is tapis dewasano (‘fully-laden cloth’), or tapis jung sarat in Indonesian (Totton, 2009, p. 99).

    Noblewomen wore such cylindrical skirts on ceremonial occasions. Or such skirts were worn by brides from wealthy families. The wealth for such ostentations displays was afforded by the lucrative pepper trade with which the south of Sumatra became associated during the colonial era, and which benefited the Lampung people directly.

    The skirt is in excellent condition. There are few or no losses and no repairs.


    Brinkgreve, F., & D.J. Stuart-Fox (eds), Living with Indonesian Art: The Frits Liefkes Collection, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde, 2013.

    Maxwell, R.,S ari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indians and Indonesian Textile Exchange, NGA, 2003a.

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

    Totton, M.L., Wearing Wealth and Styling Identity: Tapis from Lampung, South Sumatra, Indonesia, Hood Museum of Art, 2009.

    Vanderstraete, A., Magie van de Vrouw: Weefsels en Sieraden uit de Gordel van Smaragd, (The Magic of Women), Wereldmuseum, 2012.

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