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Ceremonial Textile (“Ship Cloth,” Tampan)

In Lampong, a textile such as this is known as a tampan; the often-used English term, “ship cloth, ” is a reference to the frequent depiction of ship motifs. Though no longer being made for local use, the textiles once played a role in ceremonies involving life transitions—birth, marriage, death, and other changes in personal status. For example, during an infant’s naming ceremony, the baby was placed on a pillow covered with one of these textiles, and families exchanged food wrapped in them during marriage negotiations and celebrations. The relatively large size of this cloth suggests that it may have been used as a tray covering for ceremonial food at a wedding, or it could have served as a cloth around which elders ate at a wedding feast.

Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia
Ceremonial Textile (“Ship Cloth, ” Tampan)
Late 19th or early 20th century
L. 41 in. (104.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Donald M. Suggs, 80.38.4