Description: Early 20th century, Indonesia
This vest of calico cotton is finely and densely embroidered with green, pink, and cream stitching with applied dyed red cotton bands. Such embroidery, known as tabour work, was done by Gayo men of central and highlands Aceh in the early part of the twentieth century using old, foot-pedalled sewing machines imported by the Dutch.
The vest is similarly embroidered front and back and with a central panel of spidery embroidery motifs against a dark blue background. The pastel colours, the fineness of the work and the dark blue background all point to a particularly early twentieth century provenance (Leigh, 1989, p, 135). Certainly, the embroidery on this vest is the densest and finest that we have seen.
Location of Origin: Asia
Medium/Materials: calico cotton
Dimensions: length: 42cm, width: 40cm
Primary Classification: Asian Art : South East Asian
Secondary Classification: Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : Central Asian
Expertise: The vest is in particularly good condition particularly given its age. There is minor fraying here and there, but no holes, no repairs, and the condition remains robust and stable.
References: Leigh, B., Hands of Time: The Crafts of Aceh, Penerbit Djambatan, 1989.
Provenance: From a Belgium private collection; acquired by the family of the previous owners directly from Sumatra during the 1920s.