Ceremonial cloth (ragidup, selendang)

Indonesian (Sumatran, Batak)
Dutch colonial period
19th or early 20th century

Object Place: Sumatra, Indonesia


41 x 178 cm (16 1/8 x 70 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cotton, natural dyes; warp-faced plain-weave ground, discontinuous supplementary patterning warps and wefts, twining

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Rectangular heavy reddish-brown cotton cloth with a panel at each end made up of bands of geometric motifs created by discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts and warps in white cotton (some warp yarns are cut away). The panels are connected by narrow stripes of indigo blue and natural ecru. There is a narrow twined border at the base of the warp fringe at each end.

The ragidup, which means “pattern of life,” is the most sacred of Batak textiles and is traditionally used in women’s gift-exchange ceremonies. The designs are interpreted to foretell a woman’s future.


Van Kerckhoff Collection. 1930, purchased by the MFA. (Accession Date: July 17, 1930)

Credit Line

Maria Antoinette Evans Fund