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    Pair of Malay Bolster-End Tekat Panels with Gold Thread

    Malay People, Malay Peninsula, Malaysia
    19th century

    approx. length of embroidered section of each: 21.3cm, height: 14.8cm



    private collection, UK.

    – scroll down to see further images –

    Tekat is the Malay name given to the technique of decorating textile panels (usually velvet) with thickly applied gold thread decoration. When the thread is applied by couching, the technique is  known as tekat timbul or tekat suji.

    The pair here are rectangular and comprise couched gold thread on red velvet backgrounds. The decoration is what is likely to be stylised bunga kekwa (chrysanthemum) or bunga peony (peony) motif. The work is particularly fine, well composed, and dense. Sections are raised as well, and this was achieved by inserting small cut-out sections of cardboard (mempulur) and then covering them with the couching work.

    The panels were intended to be added to the end of a long, stiff, rectangular bolster that would have adorned a wedding bed. (A photograph taken in February 2017 of such a wedding bed, in Malaysia’s National Museum in Kuala Lumper, appears below.)

    The two panels are in fine condition with minor losses to some of the gold thread, as might be expected given their age. Often today, such panels are framed for display purposes.


    Ismail, M.S.Z., et al., Muzium Tekstil Negara/National Textile Museum, Department of Museums Malaysia, 2012.

    Uda, Y.M.R.D.P. Fuziah Raja Tun et al., Tradition & Continuity: Woven and Decorated Textiles of the Malay Peninsula, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 2013.

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