Ceremonial Banner (palepai)

Lampung people

Not on view

This is an exceptional ceremonial banner (palepai) from Semangka Bay in Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia. Woven with cotton and metallic wrapped yarns in the supplementary weft technique this is a particularly rare and exceptional example. Also known as ‘ship’s cloths’ due to their iconography which often depict large ships and reflects the vibrant cosmopolitanism of the area, this palepai is a particularly rare and exceptional example featuring a single vessel in blue with a complex array of iconography typical of the genre, here picked out in red thread and other contrasting colors to highlight the designs. These include a boldly graphic area of densely formed interlocking blocks of scrolling – a feature of the left of the textile that is echoed at either side of the prow and stern of the central vessel – and emulates the dynamic rise and fall of the waves as the vessel moves through the water as well as a more literal representation of the long oars which propel the vessel through the sea. Human figures of varying dimensions populate the deck standing amidst fantastical creatures featured with mounted riders that are repeated along the upper and lower borders of the textile itself as a framing device. A remarkable level of patterning embellishes the design of the vessel itself at stern and prow creating a dynamic and highly animated narrative scene.

Ceremonial Banner (palepai), Cotton, metallic wrapped yarns, supplementary weft, Lampung people

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