Sumatra Batak Ceremonial Warp Ikat Shoulder Cloth (Ulos Pinunsaan)
Fine hand spun cotton, natural dyes
North Sumatra - Batak Toba
181 x 59 cm
Collected North Sumatra 1980
Excellent, no damage, minor fading due to age
This cloth is an outstanding one panel example of an Ulos Pinunsaan, in brown to deep maroon colour, with complex and intricate supplementary weft designs along its entire length. Batak shoulder cloths of this complexity and workmanship were only very rarely made. Symbolism includes both male and female elements. A narrow ikat selvedge hold the twisted warp fringes at either end.
Fine Ulos Pinunsaan are believed to have protective powers against physical danger such as illness. Village Shamen would read the future in their patterns and even prescribe weaving or wearing one as a cure for unexplained illnesses. Because of their rareness and ritual importance, these types of Ulos Pinunsaan are rarely seen in western collections.