South Sumatra Kroe Ship Cloth or Palepai
Cotton, hand spun, natural dyes
South Sumatra - Kroe Paminggir
56 x 280 cm
Collected South Sumatra 1982
Oustanding, very slightly dirty consistant with age, no damage or repairs
Described as "ship cloths" because of the predominance of a ship motif, which is said to represent the "ship of the dead." this Pelapai belongs to Class 1 of the types described by Gittinger, M., 1976, a blue ship with straight keel and projecting trifurcated bow and stern carrying representation of dwellings on a predominantly yellow ground.
The palepai is a cloth of the penyimbang rank (nobility) in the Paminggir people of South Sumatra. These textiles are displayed at ceremonies celebrating birth, circumcision, marriage and funerals. Supplementary weft on a plain cotton weave. Hand spun yarns and natural dyes (sepang and tamarind for the red, turmeric and tamarind for the yellow, and indigo and lime for the blue). These cloths have not been woven in a century and few exemplars can be found today. It is estimated that there are only 100 to 150 palepai of all kinds still in existence.
Ref: Gittinger, M., 1976 "The ship textiles of South Sumatra: function and design system".