Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Root of the Matter

[Detail: Early-20th-Century Sacred Heirloom Textile -- block-printed, dyed, and painted cotton -- Toraja people,  Sulawesi, Indonesia. Published in Sari to Sarong: 500 years of Indian and Indonesian textile exchange from the National Gallery of Australia.]

And now for something a bit more spare.

Well, "spare" is a strange way to describe an all-over pattern distinguished by a flowering tree dense with leaves, but this monochromatic Indonesian cotton cloth, above, is more restrained than the lush multi-color Indian palampore we looked at last week. It's basically a descendant of that palampore. After centuries of admiring and living with textiles imported from India, Indonesians incorporated Indian motifs into wares they produced at home. The block-printed piece shown here is the Toraja people's take on the tree of life. When I first saw it, I was struck by the wavy, delicate treatment of the tree roots (kind of Allegra Hicks-like).

  [Photo by Jonny Valiant as seen in Martha Stewart Living, September 2011.]

Also couldn't help thinking of the ever-popular, more contemporary fabric, Arbre de Mattisse, spied through the door above.

While I'm on block-printed leaves, a reminder to check out FEED Projects' Indian pouches and sarongs. The purchase of each FEED India Bag, and each handmade sarong, will provide 25 school meals for children.

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