Tatebin from our collection 115 X 45 cm. Showing a typical boat. On the deck are more smaller vessels (? lifeboats)This piece we acquired from a French lady who had lived in Jakarta in the '50s and early '60s. The colors are all organic dyes.


Tatebin are smaller versions of the palepai, the fabled ships cloth, so called because of the motif of a ship which is central to the design. The symbolism of the design is not well understood but it is hypothesized that the ship motif represents the transition from one realm of life to the next, for instances from boyhood to manhood or from being single to married and also represents the final transition to the afterlife.


The use of the long Palepai was restricted to the aristocrats of the culture called penjimbang who were the descendants of the village founder or chief. The smaller tatebin could be used by those of lesser rank, but who still occupied a high status witin the community.


These cloths were woven in a small area of South Sumatra by the the Paminggir, Krui, Abung and Pesisir peoples. living near Samangka and Lampung bay


This tatebin is from the National Gallery of Australia, 121 x 40 cm, Dated 1850-90

The oldest surviving examples of Lampung textiles date back to the eighteenth century,but some scholars believe that weaving may have its origin in the first millennium AD. 


The hook motif which we see in the prow and stern is one that is shared with many different cultures in South east Asia and a study of the motifs used in ikat weaving showed that these diverse traditions have a common ancestor amongst neolithic cultures the Asian mainland, and parallels exist between the patterns of textile weaving descent for the Austronesian group. There is another widely held theory that the weaving motifs originated in the late Bronze Age Dong-Son culture (500 BC - 400AD), but studies of the motifs used in the bronzes is not consistent with this.

Ref:  Buckley CD (2012) Investigating Cultural Evolution Using Phylogenetic Analysis: The Origins and Descent of the Southeast Asian Tradition of Warp Ikat Weaving. 


Woven using a technique called supplementary weave of the warp, in which the design is created by floating extra wefts over the ground weave without disturbing the structure of the weave. Wefts are inserted along the same passage as the main weft, and then worked backwards and forwards to create the design. This is carried out on the loom, and called brocading.


Following the 1883 eruption of Karkatoa when hundreds of thousands died and many villages were destroyed, some accounts say that Palepai ceased then, but actually the production of these textiles continued until the 1920s when the increasing importance of Islam and the collapse of the pepper trade brought production to a halt.


Today Lampung textiles are highly prized by museums and collectors alike.

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published