Woven Tales of Indonesia : Songket Palembang

By Unit Pengelola Museum Seni

Limar Songket Shawl (ca. 20th Century)Unit Pengelola Museum Seni

Songket

A Sumatran tradition, shared by many countries in the Malay Peninsula. Songket is hand-woven in silk or cotton, and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads.

#0045 SelendangUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

Songket, the queen of traditional weaving

The tradition is said to began in Srivijaya Empire (650 -1377 AD).  The term songket comes from the Malay word sungkit, which means "to hook" the method of songket making is to hook and pick a group of threads, and then slip the gold and silver threads under it.

Songket Janda Berias (Shoulder Cloth)

In old Palembang, widows wore outstanding textiles displaying their social status. There were two kinds, those for widows eligible for remarriage, janda berias and those for widow brides, janda pengantin.

Both weft and warp threads in this fabric are tied and dyed before being woven together in a band of zigzags, leaf tendrils and tiny flowers. 

The two ends of the textile were decorated with gold-threaded motifs in supplementary-weft weaving technique.

The pattern on these ends, of triangles and scattered flowers, indicates that the cloth was made in Mentok, on the Bangka Island, a well renowned weaving center. 

See more songket weaving collection.

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