Short jackets such as this example were worn by young, unmarried Kauer women together with a sarong. They are constructed from a rectangular piece of woven cotton cloth coloured with natural dyes.
This example is additionally woven throughout with threads wrapped with real gold.
The front piece comprises separate stiff panels embroidered with more thread wrapped with gold, and further decorated with metallic sequins, all against a pink cotton background – this is unusual.
The back panel is of purple cotton velvet sewn with sequins.
The many cowrie or nassa shells about the neck and collar and stitched to the back most probably are designed to express the hope that the wearer will have many children. The neck is also decorated with further sequins.
The interior has a floral red cotton lining.
Click here to see an example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The example here is in good condition. It is free of repairs. The cream silk panelling around the neck at the front has deteriorated and has some holes, and there is a small hole in one arm, and there are losses to the sequins sewn to the back. But otherwise there are no significant condition problems.
Brinkgreve, F,. & R. Sulistianingsih (eds), Sumatra: Crossroads of Cultures, KITLV Press, 2009.
Gillow, J., Traditional Indonesian Textiles, Thames & Hudson, 1995.
Maxwell, R., Sari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indians and Indonesian Textile Exchange, NGA, 2003.
Vanderstraete, A., Magie van de Vrouw: Weefsels en Sieraden uit de Gordel van Smaragd (The Magic of Women), Wereldmuseum, 2012.