Event: Textiles of Sumatra – Traditional Cloth from the Island of Gold

Lesley Pullen

Event date: 19 March 2014, 7pm

Next week, OATG member Lesley Pullen will be giving a lecture in London on the traditional textiles of Sumatra, Indonesia. Known by early traders as Suwarnadwipa or Island of Gold, the textiles that originate from Sumatra are as varied as those from throughout the entire Indonesian archipelago together. The ancient Austronesian animist roots, centuries of Hindu-Buddhist culture, and the subsequent domination of Islam all heavily influenced the societies of the coastal regions of Sumatra. Societal structures and sacred beliefs evolved over time and with them the use of textiles, which increasingly developed into symbols of power, wealth and status. As the belief in the sacred qualities of the textiles diminished, the need for overt and excessive consumption increased. Costly imported materials in gold, silver and silk from Indian and Chinese sources dominated the Malay court cultures of Sumatra. This highly illustrated lecture will be followed by a handling session of Sumatran textiles from a private collection.

For more information, visit the website of The Oriental Rug and Textile Society.

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