Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia

Batik is an Indonesian term widely used to denote a method of cloth decoration that uses a resist dyed technique. Batik designs are created by applying molten wax, or sometimes a rice paste, onto the ground cloth and then dyeing it in a cold dye bath. The areas of cloth covered by the wax remain undyed.

Making artificial flowers in Berlin wool was a fashionable pursuit in mid-nineteenth century Europe and North America.

The National Museums of Scotland house a late-nineteenth century bidang, a woman's skirt, from Borneo, Indonesia. It is made of cotton and decorated with shells, beadwork and embroidery.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses a ceremonial woman's skirt (localled called lau hada) decorated with beadwork. It derives from the island of Sumba, in the modern province of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, and dates to the early twentieth century. It measures 157.5 x 49.5 cm. It is made of cotton with a decoration made of nassa shells and glass beads.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses a ceremonial costume element with woven decoration and with  beadwork. It derives from the island of Timor, in the modern province of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, and dates to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. It is 44.45 cm wide and made of cotton.

Cha long phra ong khrui is a Thai term used to describe a very formal coat worn by the Thai king on important ceremonial occasions. The coat is basically made from a gold net embellished with gold embroidery. The garment is classed as a sua khrui, which means the ‘official or insignia robe,’ but the term cha long phra ong khrui refers specifically to the king’s version.

Kalaga (ကန့်လန့်ကာ; 'curtain') is the local name for a traditional type of decorated wall hanging from Myanmar (Burma), and in particular from Mandalay and its environs.

Kasut manek are slippers with beaded toe coverings, worn by Peranakan Chinese women, together with a batik sarong and a kebaya. The Peranakan Chinese are descendants of early overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, where they adopted various aspects of the indigenous cultures.

In 1960, King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand embarked on an extended tour of the world. As part of this trip the Queen wanted to wear Thai as well as Western style garments. It was soon realised, however, that the Thai court dress for women, especially that worn from the early twentieth century, was a mixture of Western and Thai elements and this dress was regarded as unsuitable, because visually it was not Thai enough.

The Nicobar Islands form an archipelago in the eastern Indian Ocean. They lie about 150 km north of Aceh on the island of Sumatra (Indonesia). Although they lie about 1,300 km southeast of the Indian subcontinent, the Nicobar Islands, together with the Andaman Islands, form the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which, since 1950, have come under the jurisdiction of India.

A book (76 x 42 cm) with samples and patterns from c. 1920 now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, derives from Vietnam and was used by the firm of Nam-Quat. It was probably used to show customers the wide range of embroidery products (cloth; threads) and designs that could be commissioned from the firm. The final page of the book contains silk satin samples in twelve different colour ways.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses a ceremonial banner from Lampung, southern Sumatra, Indonesia. It probably dates to the eighteenth century and measures 411.5 x 123.2 cm. It seems to be a palepai, the name for a large hanging that was displayed by the wealthy on important occasions. Such hangings often carried representations of large ships.

Sua khrui is a term that was used in Thailand to describe a particular type of court garment that indicated the rank of the male wearer. It is a loose-fitting outer garment with long sleeves. It is open down the front and usually reaches to the knees or mid-calves.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses an embroidered ceremonial hanging (tirai) from eastern Sumatra, Indonesia, which dates to the nineteenth century. The embroidery is worked with silk and gold thread embroidery, with pieces of mica and with lace made from metallic thread, on a woollen ground material. It measures 62.8 x 89.2 cm.