Enquiry about object: 1498

    Your First Name (required)

    Your Last Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Country (required)

    Your Message

    Sumatran Silk Ceremonial Jacket (Baju) with Gold Brocade

    Sumatra, Indonesia
    19th century

    length: 46cm, width (with arms outstretched): 163cm



    From a Belgium private collection; acquired by the family of the previous owners directly from Sumatra during the 1920s.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This jacket of purple and yellow silk with gold brocade applique over a calico lining is from Sumatra, Indonesia and probably dates to the 19th century. Possibly it is from Aceh. It might also have been worn be the Minangkabau people who imported silk clothing items from Aceh.

    The manner of the gold stitching work is highly suggestive of Arab influence. This is not surprising as there were many trade and diplomatic links between the courts of the Middle East and also the Ottoman empire. The applied gold motifs to the lower section of the front of the jacket also suggest Chinese influence: clearly the motifs are based on stylised dragons.

    Such a jacket almost certainly was made for a man, to be worn at his wedding.

    A vest with related gold brocade applique work which is attributed to Aceh, before 1878, is illustrated in Brinkgreve & Sulistianingsih (2009, p. 157).

    The condition is fine – there are no insect holes and no repairs, but there are some splits across the shoulders to the silk along the crease lines. Also, some of the gold brocade has become unstitched. These age-related matters most likely can be resolved with some minor conservation.


    Brinkgreve F, & R. Sulistianingsih (eds), Sumatra: Crossroads of Cultures, KITLV Press, 2009.

    Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, The Message and the Monsoon: Islamic Art of Southeast Asia, IAMM Publications, 2005.

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

    Summerfield, A., & J., Walk in Splendor: Ceremonial Dress and the Minangkabau, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1999.

    Dozens of items are added to our website each month. Be among the first to know about them.
    Sign up to our monthly catalogue