Very fine Ulos textile from Sumatra
This textile was purchased ca. 1990 from an antique shop in Bukittinggi, central Sumatra. We were told it was 10-20 years old at the time.
This cloth was hand woven by a Batak weaver in northern Sumatra. It is called an ulos and is a type of Selendang or Shawl Woven Cloth. The weave is very fine and all cotton, in warp-face plain weave with supplemental weft decorations. The center is a plain black field, with no ikat and just a few small supplemental-weft geometric designs. Long twisted warp fringes decorate both ends, and a 0.5-inch strip of woven beadwork finishes and stabilizes the ends. The first photo below shows half the textile, the other half is the mirror image. The second photo shows the letters, with a message, woven in supplemental weft. This line of letters appears to read: "SELA MATPA KA IUOLS SE KELU ARCA". The final image shows the end and side finishes.
Width varies from 25 to 26 inches;
Length is 69 inches excluding the long twisted warp fringes.
This textile was woven as a single panel of cloth. The ends are finished with multiple strands of glass beads, in red, black and white colors.
Condition is excellent, no holes or stains, only some light wear and/or soil is possible. In the photos below, the warp always runs vertically. The first image shows approximately half of the garment, the other half is a mirror image.