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These ritual textiles have been made using undyed and handspun cotton, and are decorated with a drawing in black ink. They still have their warp intact, and have intentionally been removed from the loom in this way (the term undyed and handspun cotton refers to a cloth with a continuous warp). Cutting the warp may be an important part of their ritual function.

One cloth [E097462] depicts Semara (or Kama) and Ratih, the god and goddess of love, shaded by an umbrella, a symbol of high status. The gods are portrayed in intimate embrace, each with one arm embracing the other’s neck and the other hand holding the end of a long sash wrapped around Semara’s waist. Ratih’s legs wrap around his waist while Semara stands on a lotus flower. These figures are depicted in the Kamasan painting Smaradahana: the Burning of the God of Love, which relates Siwa’s destruction of Kama and Kama’s sacrifice for the happiness of the world.

Another cloth [E097463] depicts a pair of entwined serpents ‘naga’ with human-like faces and crowns, with some sacred letters/syllables (of mystical significance) at the base. The serpents relate to the structure of the cosmos - according to creation myths the world snake Antaboga lives in the ocean created a giant turtle during a meditation, who carries the world on her back (sometimes only one snake is depicted in drawings). There are other stories relating to the potency of serpents and their relationships with the brahmana priestly caste of Bali.


  • Warp is the set of threads running lengthwise in the loom (or vertical threads).