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Skirt cloth

Skirt cloth

  • Place of origin:

    Cirebon (probably, made)

  • Date:

    late 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton batik

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The design of this batik skirt cloth, probably made in Cirebon on the north coast of Java, reflects the multiple influences on this centre of batik production. Cirebon was a centre of the Islamic faith from the 16th century onwards. Art forms produced in Cirebon exhibited motifs with Muslim Middle Eastern or Mughal Indian origins blended with early designs drawn from Hindu and pre-Hindu traditions. After the town came under the control of the Dutch East India Company and then the Dutch government from the late 18th century onwards, other influences came into play. The Dutch encouraged a Chinese entrepreneurial and bureaucratic class to develop, and as they adopted the local style of dress their own patterns and colour preferences began to influence the design of batik. This batik reflects both Indian and Chinese influence in its colours and design structure.

Physical description

Skirt cloth (Kain panjang) of cotton with a batik design. The field or body (badan) of the cloth has a cream ground with a design in blue and red which consists of a nearly symmetrical design of flowering trees with birds, butterflies and dancing imps, both showing Indian and Chinese influences. The borders at each end are in contrasting colours: one has a panel with a blue ground with birds and flowers and the end section with a tumpal (triangle) design against a red ground; and the other end has a panel with a cream ground with end section with a tumpal against an indigo ground. The borders at the bottom (which has a narrow band and a wavy band) and the top (which has a narrow band only) change ground colour half way through the cloth. Machine-made tabby weave cotton.

Place of Origin

Cirebon (probably, made)


late 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cotton batik


Length: 245 cm, Width: 106 cm

Descriptive line

Skirt cloth (Kain panjang) of cotton batik, probably made in Cirebon, Java, late 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Swallow, Deborah, A Singular Substitute, pps. 156-164
The V&A Album, 5, London: 1986 Number: ISBN 1851770771

Production Note

Probably to have been made in Cirebon on the north coast of Java, Indonesia






AMICO 2003; Textiles; Clothing

Production Type



South & South East Asia Collection

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