Poetoe Menmatera Made Wirija, Nobleman’s ceremonial over wrap [kampuh songket or saput songket] Enlarge | zoom 1 /1

Poetoe Menmatera Made Wirija


  • worked Bali 1920s

Artist's cultural association:
Balinese people
Nobleman’s ceremonial over wrap [kampuh songket or saput songket] c. 1920 Place made: Bali, Indonesia
Materials & Technique: textiles, ceremonial objects, silk, gold thread, dyes; supplementary weft weaving [songket]

Primary Insc: Text woven into cloth "Poetoe Menmatera Made Wirija".
Dimensions: 101.5 h x 153.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1989
Accession No: NGA 89.405

The central field of this songketbrocade displays a blend of traditional and new motifs. Status symbols of the past have been replaced by prestigious images of modern technology – steamships, bi-planes and flowering pot-plants – protected by traditional border patterns depicting the heads of the mythical Kala Rauh. In Indonesia, ships have long been an important image symbolising spiritual journeys and changes of status at rites of passage. European ships first appeared on textiles in the form of elegant sailing vessels and elaborately rigged galleons. By the 20th century, however, the smoke-belching steamer became a popular ship image on Indonesian textiles.

Silk and metallic thread brocades were traditionally woven in the royal courts exclusively by women of high caste. Here the weaver has taken the unusual, and very modern, step of including her name in roman script.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label