A beautiful batik cotton hipcloth (kain lepas) hand-drawn in the Sundanese batik center of Garut in west Java with 4 repetitions of an S-shaped flowering creeper. The open arrangement (rather than the tight bouquets of Pekalongan) emphasizes graceful, arching curves set off by rich clusters of heart-shaped leaves and bright flowers, and accentuated by falling sprays of smaller flowers. The unusual color composition of deep brown-black with brilliant vermillion and blue is found in older north coast batiks. A bird flies between the creepers at the top, middle and bottom. The wide borders framing the whole centerfield with blue cone-shaped bunches of flowers set in dark foliage create a highly decorative, luxurious effect, supplemented at the short ends by further rows of meanders in different colors, and spiky upright triangles (vestigial tumpal). Especially striking is the pale, creamy yellow of the plain background, the distinctive color-tone that is the hallmark of Garut batiks, and gives this fine example an attractive, bright glow. An attractive, vivacious example of the strong, yet delicate, character of this regional style.
Garut batiks are characterized by a pale yellow background called gumading, a soft yellow like the mango fruit just beginning to ripen. A beautiful Sundanese girl is said to have skin like the light, delicate shade of gumading. While the basic motif of the bouquet in this hipcloth shows the influence of Pekalongan designs, its wide-arching form and movement as well as expression in stronger colors are both typical of the regional taste of Garut. These features also show the design heritage of Javanese north coast batik, where the drawing and arrangement of the flowering vine was an older style, pre-dating the pastel bouquets introduced by Indo-European batik-makers—the design does not have a dominant axis and can be seen from any direction. The vine wandering over the cloth is a traditional batik format called lung-lungan (creeper tendril), and its flowers evoke the scattering of blossoms in rituals. The display of colors also follows the traditional classification of patterns according to color combination: bang-bangan (red /cream), appropriate for young girls; bang-biru (red /blue /cream) for married women with children; or bang-biru-ijo (red / blue /green /cream) or bang-biru-itam (red / blue /black /cream), as in this piece, was the most elaborate color combination in traditional north coast styles. Older women wore blue /white (kelengan) batiks.
The hipcloth has been carefully kept in excellent condition, with only 1 tiny stain (see top of image 4), and no holes or tears. The cloth looks remarkably fresh for its age due to the colors, which are clear, glowing, and vivid. The cotton is of high quality, heavy, smooth, and grown slightly crisp with age. An exceptionally fine, lovely piece of old batik with a rich vitality and elegance.
94" x 42".