Palepais are the most magnificent members of the Sumatran Ship Cloth family.\nThe others \u2013 Tampans & Tatibins \u2013 are smaller and have fewer restrictions on usage and inheritance.\nTampans are the smallest usually squarish and less than 1 meter long on each side. Tatibins are about 1 \u2013 1.5 m long rectangular pieces.\u00a0 But Palepais are over 3 m long.\nFurther, while Tampans are used by all descendants of the family, the Palepai is special. Only the direct male descendant of the clan founder had the right to inherit and use the family\u2019s ancestral Palepai and display it on the walls during all family events.\n***\nGittinger\u2019s article suggests that there are 4 types of Palepais\n1. Weavings with a single large blue ship sprawling across the textile\n2. Weavings with two blue ships side by side\n3. Weavings with rows of stylised humans\n4. Weavings with 4 or more discrete designs\nHere we have two Palepais, both with Red Ships that do not fit into the segments mentioned.\n\nThis textile shown is very similar to the one at the Metropolitan Museum NY with respect to the character of the threads and weaving [thicker threads, tighter weaves, stiffer design than some of the oldest ship cloths seen.]. The Met Museum Palepai is said to be from the 19th century, If we use the similarity as the basis for estimating age, that may be the natural conclusion for this cloth shown above.\nThe second cloth below is appears to be from an earlier time as the base cloth is finer than the one above. But in both cases I have many questions. And I hope to find answers\u00a0 through an interview with an 80+ year old dealer through whose hands hundreds of such ship cloths have passed.\n\nThese textiles are no longer woven today and the older examples are from the 19th century. All woven before the devastating Krakatoa volcano eruption.\nAge and rarity are\u00a0 definitely factors that add to the allure of the textile.\nBut going beyond that, is the cultural symbolism contained in it which makes this a majestic textile. Those that would have been handed down the centuries would have seen family histories being written!\nAnd at the final level, the crafting of such a textile is itself a wonderous thing. The supplementary weft, the loom, the management of the various threads, the symmetry \u2026 all of these would have required some superior expertise.\nBut all we have is the final product from which to draw out all stories, real or imagined.\nAnd so it is no wonder that acquiring these leads to a little celebration!\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\njm\nJune 2015\nThe post Palepai Ship Cloths \u2013 Threads of Ancestry appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.