ulu torus from page 381 of 'Legacy in cloth'

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Sandra Niessen - collection for sale

My collection of Batak textiles, photographs and weaving equipment is for sale to a public institution. Highlights of the collection are outlined below.  Please contact me for further information.  A Pdf file of the highlights listed below may be downloaded.

Highlights of the Niessen Textile Collection

Legacy in Cloth: Batak Textiles of Indonesia (2009)

  • the Niessen collection of Batak textiles forms the basis of this standard reference work.

  • Dozens of textiles in the Niessen collection are depicted in Part III (Catalogue) of the publication.

  • The publication may be seen as an extensive documentation of the collection.

One of the largest

  • the largest Batak textile collection in the world with the exception of that in the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (see article to be attached in due course).

Old and new

  • the bulk was collected between 1979 and 2009.

  • a dozen textiles were inherited from a former Dutch missionary, Zr. Wolff, collected between 1920 and 1970.

  • the collection includes many textiles that were between 10 and 100 years old at the time of acquisition.

  • the collection includes new inventions and designs (since 1979) to illustrate the dynamism in the Batak weaving arts. The collection illustrates the shift in the Batak weaving arts from an emphasis on warp elements to an emphasis on weft elements.

Good condition

  • The textiles have been well-selected for quality and carefully stored.

Full repertory

  • an attempt has been made to collect all of the available and extant design types made and used by the Toba, Karo and Simalungun Batak (two by the Mandailing Batak).

  • most museum collections do not include recent design types.

  • includes many old design types not found in European museums.

  • includes an educational range from the finest to the simplest textiles in the Batak repertory.

Well-documented provenance

  • The most thoroughly-documented Batak collection in existence

    • For most of the textiles the region/village/household/market of production and sale is known.

    • In most cases, details of production and/or sale are known even if the weaver or seller cannot be identified by name.

    • For 50% of the textiles the weaver and/or seller is known, and there are photographs of many weavers and dealers or market-stall proprietors.

Documented production techniques

  • Legacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia includes detailed descriptions of the production techniques used to make specific Batak textile design types. This is the most detailed and extensive description in the published literature and represents new research findings.


Highlights of the Photograph Collection

Field Images – approximately 1000

  • slides and photographs

  • the bulk documents textiles in the collection –the villages, people, techniques, circumstances

  • 177 of the field photographs are found in the publication Legacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia

Studio Images – approximately 725

  • digital studio images, large and small negatives, top-quality scans of textile details, photograph prints.


Highlights of the Weaving Equipment

  • complete set of weaving equipment belonging to Ompu Sihol in Harian Boho, a traditional weaver living on a bay on the northwest shore of Lake Toba.

  • incidental equipment such as swifts and yarn types purchased outside Harian Boho

  • almost all components of the collection are documented and depicted inLegacy in cloth: Batak textiles of Indonesia, part IV: Techniques.

  • see a list of the weaving equipment for sale

The collection of Batak textiles, photographs and weaving equipment highlighted above is for sale to a public institution.  A Pdf file of the highlights may be downloaded.

Please contact me for further information.