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Some of the oldest textile traditions in Indonesia are associated with the Paminggir people who lived in the interior of Lampung in southern Sumatra. The most highly developed of these textiles are the tapis inuh, a ceremonial skirt woven with alternating bands of warp ikat in muted colors and embroidered panels worked in silk. Two types of embroideries exist. The first type features enigmatic squid-like forms thought to represent primordial spirit beings. The second type (this example), depicts ships carrying people with feathered headdresses, trees and small houses, images that have affinities with the boat and “feather men” iconography of the Dong Son culture that flourished in Vietnam between 1,000 BC and 1 BC. This rare panel is exceptional in quality and well preserved despite its age (which may well date to the 18th century). The unusual length adds to the epic effect of this textile.
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