This superb and relatively rare example of a woven shoulder cloth from the Malay people of South Sumatra is in red and pink silks. Unusually, it combines a weft ikat work with gold patterning produced not by weaving or embroidery but by gluing gold leaf onto the cloth – a process known as prada work.
The process of applying the goldwork involved applying the glue with small wooden stamps and then brushing gold leaf onto the surface of the textile, and then helping it to adhere by polishing the textile with a shell. The pattern thus rendered was intended to emulate gold brocade work.
The central ikat panel is decorated with a pattern based on a repeated double garuda motif.
The textile has some minor splits (which have been repaired). These are the product of age and are not particularly noticeable from the front of the textile. The colours are bright and there are no losses to the prada work. Overall, this is a wonderful and decorative example.
Maxwell, R., Sari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indians and Indonesian Textile Exchange, NGA, 2003.
Maxwell, R., Textiles of Southeast Asia: Tradition, Trade and Transformation, Periplus, 2003.