Previous Exhibit

Gold Cloths installation view

Gold Cloths installation view

Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia's Songkets from Ceremony to Community

Curated by Prof. Susan Rodgers, and textile researchers Dr. Anne Summerfield and Dr. John Summerfield, organized by Roger Hankins

Additional support for the exhibition provided by the Holy Cross Departments of Sociology and Anthropology, Asian Studies, and the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies 

March 1 - April 18, 2007

Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia’s Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity is the third exhibition in a series mounted at the Cantor Art Gallery on Southeast Asian hand-loomed cloth.  The exhibition offers both 19th-century and contemporary examples of one of Asia’s most spectacular traditional textiles; the songkets of the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra and the Palembang Malays of South Sumatra.

Songkets are made of silk or fine cotton, interwoven with supplementary wefts of gold-wrapped thread.  These shimmering textiles are worn as sarongs, shoulder cloths, and head-ties in rituals such as weddings and the installation of village chiefs.  Songkets’ weavers are Muslim women and girls, however some boys and men are also weaving today.  Antique gold-thread weaving from Sumatra has reached great aesthetic heights, and the craft remains a thriving, even expanding art today.

This exhibition looks precisely at those elements of songket resiliency and creativity. Nowadays this ‘traditional textile’ is being robustly reworked for sale to Indonesian and Malaysian buyers, at high levels of weaving excellence.  The exhibition is based on 2005-2006 fieldwork in Sumatra by Susan Rodgers, professor of anthropology at Holy Cross, and the extensive songket research of Anne and John Summerfield over the past thirty years.

Susan Rodgers, Roger Hankins, Anne and John Summerfield, and Holy Cross student docents will aid in bringing the exhibition to life through gallery tours that are available upon request. For additional information, contact the Cantor Art Gallery.


Opening Reception
March 1, 5:30 – 6:30 P.M.

Opening Gallery Talk
Commerce and Creativity in Sumatran Songket Textiles, Prof. Susan Rodgers and Dr. Anne Summerfield 
March 1, 4:00 P.M.

Gallery Talk
Dr. Anne Summerfield and Dr. John Summerfield, Indonesian textile collectors and researchers
Friday, March 2, 12:00 Noon

Gallery Talk
Indonesian Textiles and the Feminine
Melanie Chapman '07 
Sponsored by Women’s and Gender Studies
Thursday, March 15, 4:00 P.M.

Gallery Talk
Commerce and Creativity in Sumatran Textiles
Prof. Susan Rodgers and student docents, Melanie Chapman '07, Colleen Germain '07, and Sarah Thibeault '07
Friday, March 16, 10 A.M.

Gallery Talk
Threads of American Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: Elephants for Mr. Lincoln
Dr. Anita Hibler, University of Maryland
Tuesday, March 20, 5:00 P.M.

Gallery Talk
Museum Representations of Asia: A Comparison of Singapore’s Asian Civilizations Museum and New York’s American Museum of Natural History
Megan Osborne '05
Tuesday, April 3. 5:00 P.M. 

Gallery Talk
Weavers, Markets and Museums:  The Making of an Exhibition
Prof. Susan Rodgers and Cantor Art Gallery Director, Roger Hankins
Wednesday, April 11, 12:00 Noon





Gold Cloths installation views