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The large male and female figures on this skirt, a common motif in Sumbanese textiles, allude to fertility and the continuity of life.
Throughout Indonesia, red is generally associated with earth, woman, blood, and fertility. This elaborately decorated skirt would have been given to the bride as part of the ritualized gift exchange that accompanied her nuptials.
The shrimp and lobsters on this skirt symbolize rebirth-the shrimp because they shed and replace their shells; the lobsters because they can regenerate their limbs.
Eliza M. and Sarah L. Niblack Collection; given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1933 (33.682).