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Author Topic:   Indochinese Altar Cloth
Richard posted 3/8/03 2:43 PM    Click here to send email to Richard  
Hello Friends, I thought it might be fun to post this textile. This is an altar cloth "TOK WI" of a Chinese community ("Peranakan Chinese") from the north coast of Java. It dates from the late 19th to early 20th century and was bought from a family in Java. Traditionally these pieces would decorate a house alter or some small shrine erected by the neighborhood. This has silk and gold thread embroidery. The size is approximately 93cm x 103cm. I'm still looking for additional references but primarily enjoy all of your insights and comments.Thanks to all and I hope you enjoy seeing this. Richard

Pamela (Moderator) posted 3/9/03 5:56 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
Yes, this looks a very typical piece to find in a peranakan or straits Chinese setting. There are quite informative permanent exhibits in the National Museum in Singapore and in the Kuching (Sarawak, East Malaysia) Museum around peranakan homes/customs. Have you seen 'The Straits Chinese, a cultural history' by Khoo Joo Ee published by the Pepin Press in 1996 ISBN 90 5496 008 6. It is a coffee table style book with history and culture. Good photographs included old ones. Personally I prefer the more peranakan textiles - ie Chinese mixed with Malay culture - rather than the purely Chinese import which is what your piece apears to be. Some of my friends in Singapore and Malaysia are from this background. Fascinating to see the old aunts in their kebayas and sarongs at a very modern October 2000 wedding in Singapore. Some of the Javanese batik specifically for the Straits Chinese market is attractive. All of which is a bit of a diversion from your cloth, Richard!

[This message has been edited on 03/09/2003]
Sandra Shamis posted 4/18/03 2:41 AM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis  
Hi Richard,Very nice piece indeed. Just a note about banners in Thailand, especially in the South. The Chinese hang traditional banners like yours, but smaller, for the period around the Chinese New Year (which is different from the Thai. "songkron" which is usually celebrated in April and involves water fights among other wet games). We attended one last weekend, and the rain flooded the temple!) I've been trying to procure one for a very long time. By the way, the Chinese in Thailand are mainly from Chaozhou province. Best
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