Kain Batik Tulis Arab Ritual Cloth 11101

Jambi, Sumatra

Cotton; batik

19th Century
79 x 35 in/201 x 89 cm 

Kain Batik Tulis Arab means “batik cloth written in Arabic” and was used primarily as a shroud or a talismanic headcloth for a village chief. The field is covered with inscriptions from the Koran, some legible and others not. Clearly defined, a bold curvilinear graphic design repeated in large scale is a tugrah, the formal signature of the Ottoman emperor. Sumatra had long contact with Turkey since the 16th Century and even those who could not read recognized the tugrah as a powerful motif. This piece is made from hand drawn wax.