Saturday, September 07, 2013

Old Batak Plaited Mat

The ragged old mat that Nashir had over his shoulders is a new acquisition. Towards the end of our chat last night, Annette Horschmann fetched it for me. She had salvaged it from some Batak village where children were playing with it and it was being left to rot. It is a truly remarkable mat and not just because it is the filthiest that I have ever had my nose in the proximity of.

It shows the quality of the mat-weaving of the past. I was immediately reminded of Jasper and Pirngadie’s assessment in 1908 of  Batak basket weaving. I have never seen a mat as fine and complex. I stuffed it into a plastic bag and then stashed it in the Boat Budaya when it came to pick us up at Tabo Cottages. Some day…some day… there might be a school of Batak handicrafts that requires heritage pieces. I itch to start such a school.

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