From 17 December 2022 to 15 January 2023, an exquisite exhibition of textiles from south Sumatra will be showcased at Masa Masa, presenting a rich, historical collection of the area’s cultural heritage from across 120 years.
The exhibition, titled MUARA – Rivers of Threads, is brought to us by local fashion brand Pithecanthropus Bali, whose own products are inspired by Indonesia’s antique textiles and heritage fashion. Starting as a small gift shop 32 years ago, the brand has grown to present their own ready-to-wear pieces, accessories, repro silver accessories, and vintage textiles. Many of the textiles and artefacts shown at the exhibition come from Pithecanthropus’ own antique textile archive and private collections.
With over 50 textiles on display, MUARA is a showcase of the unique cultural heritage of the societies and communities in the southern areas of Sumatra.
This impressive range of textiles goes beyond the aesthetic beauty of each piece, as they reveal unique characteristics and natural commodities of each province. These highlight different environmental and social influences down the rivers of the region.
Around the river sides of Palembang, Jambi, Lampung, Bangka, and Bengkulu, the textiles show a distinct favouring of gold, with the Songket of Palembang and Lemar Mentok of Bangka embroidered with gold threads from China and Thailand, or the mirror adorning Lampung’s Sai Batin or Tapis Lampung. Chintz textiles from India’s Coromandel coast will also be presented in Muara. All of these imported textiles and ingredients were obtained by the sultanates through trade, bartered with local commodities like pepper and agarwood.
Accompanying the textiles, Baju Kurung from Palembang and Tepak Sirih (betel nut chewing sets) will be presented to show the adat and important values of Melayu people of southern parts of Sumatra.
The almost month-long exhibition takes place at Masa Masa, Ketewel, Gianyar. The opening event on 17 December will feature a performance by Putu Septa, who will reinterpret traditional music from Palembang.