New Book: Legacy in Cloth

by - Tuesday, June 01, 2010

New to the store is Sandra Niessen's impressive volume Legacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia. The work offers the first definitive study of the woven heritage of the Toba, Simalungun, and Karo Batak. The most complete analysis of Batak textiles ever published, it provides a record of more than 100 different design types, including archival and contemporary photographs showing how the textiles are woven and how they are used in Batak culture. Legacy benefits from fieldwork conducted over two decades and consultation of all major European collections of Batak textiles and private collections in Indonesia.

2009, Leiden: KITLV Press. 568 pps. 900 illustrations. ISBN 978 90 6718 351 2 Available online or in our stores. $80.00 cdn.

We met with Sandra in the fall as she came through Vancouver. She had a sample of the book with her and it was nothing short of stunning. It is a comprehensive work filled with wonderfully detailed photos and writing. With the book completed Sandra was making plans to revisit the villages where she had conducted her research to present the weavers with a copy of the book. To quote Sandra,

"In the summer of 2010, I will be returning to North Sumatra, to visit all of the villages and the weavers that I met during my fieldwork for Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia. I have fulfilled my obligations to museums and archives who have requested a copy of Legacy for copyright purposes. I feel this obligation even more strongly towards the weavers, however, even though they gave their knowledge to me freely and with no counter-demands. They have a right to the full compendium of information that I have gathered and to see their pictures published in the book!"

You can learn more about both Sandra and her work on her website and her blog Sandra's website gives considerable detail about her studies in indonesia and what motivates her enthusiasm for both anthropology and weaving. Her work is an inspiration to us. We feel her book has raised the bar for publications in the textile arts. Comments are welcome.

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