Ceremonial Banner (palepai)

Lampung people

Not on view

This is a finely executed ceremonial banner (palepai) from Abung in the Lampung region of southern Sumatra, Indonesia. Woven with cotton and metallic wrapped yarns in the supplementary weft technique this is an important example of the genre deploying stylistic devices and bold colors to achieve a level of intricacy that is rarely matched. Palepai were restricted to the nobility. Their specific dimensions allowed them to be hung like tapestries on the walls of noble houses for important occasions where they served as long rectangular banners honoring the aristocratic status and wealth of the family. This important example has a balanced composition of two vessels, each replete with canopy and decorative awnings and upright posts for banners and pennants to announce the passage and arrival of the vessel during its transit and on its arrival at destination. The two vessels are separated by an upright post comprised of the scrolling designs that flourish at each end of the prow and stern and give a sense of dynamic movement. Large and small ancestral figures populate teach vessel and the stylistic device that separates the two halves of the banner. The level of detail and fine execution makes this piece a remarkable one.

No image available

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.