Man's shoulder cloth with ship motifs

early 20th century

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, United States

Using the basic palette of Indonesian ikat-creamy white, deep brownish red, and indigo blue-the woman who tied and dyed the yarns for this textile created an atmospheric scene of ships with tall masts on a dark, mysterious sea. Notice that the yarns for the fringe were carefully bound in order to preserve their original color.

By the end of the 20th century, fi gurative motifs were rare in the ikat-patterned textiles of Flores. This example suggests that more varied designs existed in the past. The ship is a symbolic image throughout Indonesia, signifying safe passage for the human spirit during times of transition and crisis. This type of shoulder cloth is a man's garment, associated with elders and prestige.


  • Title: Man's shoulder cloth with ship motifs
  • Date Created: early 20th century
  • Physical Dimensions: 106 × 44 in. (2 m 69.24 cm × 111.76 cm)
  • Type: Textiles
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/4295032/
  • Medium: Cotton
  • culture: Lio people
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, the Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles, gift of The Eugene McDermott Foundation

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps