Batak Cloth and Clothing
By:"S. A. Niessen"
Published on 1993 by Kuala Lumpur : Oxford University Press
The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were a period of tumultuous social change for the Batak of North Sumatra. That change was registered in their clothing and handwoven textiles. This book examines factors which inspired these people to wear Malay and European styles on a daily basis and to reserve the use of their hipcloths and shouldercloths for ceremonial occasions. By wearing accultrated clothing some Batak proclaimed their adherence to the new status terms promoted by the Dutch colonial regime. Other Batak developed an 'appearance of resistance' to the changes they saw around them. Women's fashions changed more slowly and announced the continuity of their social role as keepers of hearth and home. Although apparel changes were regionally and temporally specific, all culminated in the development of a vestimentum communis, a 'common clothing', which downplayed social distinctions which had been the norm before colonial intrusion.
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