July 7, 2015

1725 INDONESIA (Lesser Sunda) - Balinese girls dressed in anteng

Textiles represent powerful symbols in Bali, indicating the status and well being of the wearer. Even buildings, trees and statues have textiles draped and attached to them, because they are by tradition symbolically dressed during ceremonies. Textiles could also assist as mediators with the supernatural world in religious rituals such as cremations, where hundreds of costly meters of cloth would be turned into ashes to accompany the soul of the dead to the other world. As merchants brought the first materials to Bali, they used textiles as a primary medium of exchange in trade at ports. Textiles would have been used as offerings to the gods, later being used as compulsory attire for temples.

Throughout the world, the wealth of traditional Balinese textiles is well known. While admired by many for their beauty and artistry, textiles play an important part in the daily life and ceremonies of the Balinese. Most attire consists of a simple rectangular piece of cloth, which is stylishly wrapped around the body. Women who attend a temple ceremony may wear an upper garment called an anteng, which is wrapped tightly around the upper body leaving the shoulders free, or a larger selendang, like a shawl, which is thrown over one shoulder. Until the 1930s Balinese women went to the temple with their upper bodies naked, but the Dutch persuaded them to cover up.

About the stamps
The stamp is part of a series of eight greeting stamps, issued on April 21, 2001, depicting flowers

Balinese Dress and Balinese Textiles - Murni's webite
The artistry of Balinese cloth, by Jennifer Juno - Bali Advertiser

Sender: Christina
Sent from ??? (Bali / Indonesia), on ??.03.2014

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