Walk in Splendor: Ceremonial Dress and the Minangkabau

SUMMERFIELD, Anne and John (eds. 1999). Walk in Splendor: Ceremonial Dress and the Minangkabau, Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA. ISBN 978-0930741723, hardback, fully illustrated with colour photographs, glossary and extensive bibliography, pp. 368. USD 85.

This is an ethnographical study with textiles as a central focus. The Minangkabau are a large matrilineal society in West Sumatra. Their ceremonial textiles were relatively unknown until the 1990s, with the few examples outside Indonesia mostly found in Dutch museums. These textiles, with detailed geometric motifs worked in silver and gold thread on a silk background, are now highly prized. This is rightly so, as the lavish colour photographs in this book show.

This book, with contributions by thirteen researchers, is divided into three sections. The first section introduces Minangkabau culture and ceremonies. The second part is devoted solely to the ceremonial textiles. There are chapters on motifs and their meanings, often proverbs about good behaviour; separate chapters on women’s and men’s ceremonial dress; fibers and patterning techniques; and lastly an examination of metallic threads used in these textiles. The last section of the book looks at related ceremonial arts, such as jewellery, dance, food, architecture, and the proverbs themselves. There is an extensive bibliography and glossary.

Recommendation: This book puts textiles in context and shows the importance of textiles in fostering and preserving a people’s history and culture. It will be of interest to curators and collectors of Indonesian textiles and to academic researchers in this field.

Shelley Anderson

Search in the TRC website

TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428   info@trc-leiden.nl

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment. Holidays: until 11 August

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, Stichting Textile Research Centre

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

TRC Gallery exhibition: 5 Sept. -19 Dec. 2019: Socks&Stockings

facebook 2015 logo detail




The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
Financial donations to the TRC can also be made via Paypal: 

Subscribe to the TRC Newsletter