Shoulder Cloth (Selendang)


Not on view

With its subtle indigo and white tones and rhythmic, diagonal rows of circular motifs alternating with a latticelike design, this cloth exemplifies the orderly compositions and muted colors characteristic of batiks from central Java. Batik makers in this region create two basic types of patterns: semen (based on tendril-like plant forms) and ceplok, composed of geometric motifs, as seen in this example.
Historically, Javanese society was highly stratified and remains so to some extent, and the pattern of a person’s batik often indicated rank and social status. This was particularly true in the royal courts of the central Javanese cities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, which continue to be ruled, at least nominally, by hereditary monarchs. During the eighteenth century, the wearing of certain batik designs was restricted to members of the nobility or the royal family. Commoners were prohibited from wearing these designs, which were referred to as pola larangan ("forbidden patterns"). These prohibitions, however, loosened over time, and today people may wear any pattern they choose.

Shoulder Cloth (Selendang), Cotton, Javanese

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.