Brian Stephenson Fine Art

Indonesian Tribal Art
Kroe Palepai

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South Sumatra Kroe ceremonial hanging or Ship Cloth (Palepai)


Item-Description:South Sumatra Kroe ceremonial hanging or Ship Cloth (Palepai)
Medium:Cotton, hand spun, natural dyes
Origin:South Sumatra - Kroe Paminggir
Dimensions:56 x 280 cm
Age:19th century
Provenance:Collected South Sumatra 1982
Condition:Oustanding, very slightly dirty consistant with age, no damage or repairs
Notes:Described as "ship cloths" because of the predominance of a ship motif, which is said to represent the "ship of the dead." this Palepai belongs to Class 1 of the types described by Gittinger, M., 1976 (see References), viz: “a blue ship with straight keel and projecting trifurcated bow and stern carrying representation of dwellings on a predominantly yellow ground”.

The Palepai is a cloth of the penyimbang rank (nobility) in the Paminggir people of South Sumatra this example originating from the Kalianda district, Lampung. These textiles are displayed at ceremonies celebrating birth, circumcision, marriage and funerals. Weaving technique is supplementary weft on a plain cotton weave. Hand spun yarns and natural dyes are used (sepang and tamarind for the red, turmeric and tamarind for the yellow, and indigo and lime for the blue). These cloths have not been woven in a century and few exemplars can be found today. It is estimated that there are only 100 to 150 Palepai of all kinds still in existence.

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