Noblewoman's wedding ceremonial skirt [kain manik lekok] early 20th century.
The beadwork is denser than usual, has an arrangement seen only in older pieces, has beads of several colors and has well elaborated figurative motifs. Overall the beadwork is among the best in this category of textiles.
This is a very special piece!
Maloh people, West Kalimantan, Borneo Beaded skirt - powerful spirit motif. Beads, sequins and shells embellishment on commercial cotton. The Maloh wore skirts like this on festive and ceremonial occasions: birth, marriage, death, harvests, and strong spirit motifs such as this were restricted to those in the upper echelons of society.
Worn on ceremonial occasions by members of the local elite, the valuable garments symbolise prosperity, fertility and abundance. People believe that the more beads displayed, the greater the rice harvest will be.
A prerogative of the ruling families, prestigious motifs include dragon-serpents, slaves and heirloom Indian trade cloth patterns.
REFERENCES 1. "Hornbill and Dragon" focusing on the material culture of Borneo's tribes.
2. "The Traditional Costume of Sabah" The book has photos and drawings showing the costumes worn by seven of Sabah's tribes, including the Dusun and Maloh (Sabah is located at the northernmost tip of Borneo).
MUSEUM EXAMPLES: Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
This item has spent a lifetime being used for the purpose of its creation with the original artist/user.Signs of this life lived heartily may be present on the piece in the form of stains, thread loss, loose threads, holes, tears, color run and other imperfections.Therefore the condition must be assumed to be “not” perfect. More photos of such imperfections will be provided on request.
SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR INVITATIONS TO COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATIONS, PREVIEWS & TALKS