August 5, 2011

Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam

Offering cup decorated with red coral

Wednesday me and Koen visited the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam. It's not allowed to make pictures, but they have all these beautiful, inspiring things and we had a Iphone. They told us on every floor we weren't allowed, but I had to share these with you!

A (glued) Tibetan sand mandala

It's very nice to see one up-close, but it's also strange. It's not meant to survive. It stands for the temporary of life and if you then go and glue it to a board..t's just a typical Western thing to do. A lot of people ask me if my ricecarpet are glued or why I don't glue it. I always say that the idea behind it is that it's temporary. And if a ricecarpet was not from rice, beans and lentils, but a real carpet no one will look at it that long or intensely. And that maybe now they will look better or longer to the things they own, the things they use, the things that are common ("vanzelfsprekend") because they are just as temporary.

The Batiks were a bit hidden, but I noticed this way of displaying Batiks also in Amsterdam & Leiden. Maybe it has to do with the fragility of the fabrics. In Amsterdam the conservator told me that they never exhibit the Batiks in their collection (only with theme exhibitions) because they don't have the manpower to change the Batiks every 6 months and that then the risk of the colours fading is too high. But they also had a lot of Ikats at the Wereldmuseum and they were fully displayed.
One Batik I was really happy to see. It's called Simbut, a cloth painted with a pattern using Darih, a thick paste made of Oryza glutinosa (flour of sticky rice) instead of wax. The Darih is applied with sticks or by hand. Therefore the pattern are more rough, then the Batiks made with canting. The Batiks (in Dutch called "Kleefrijstbatiks") are made during a ritual. The abstract symbols on the cloth are mostly compasses ("windroos", shaped like a clover) and Swatika (Sunlike symbols). The cloth is used for protection and sometimes they hang a Simbut it the top of a new building for good luck and as a protection against bad spirits.

I know this Batik from the book "Bloemen van het heelal" by A. Veldhuizen-Djajasoebrata (see image above). I think it's a really inspiring Batik. The pattern is very simple, but very strong. I used the patterns in my ricecarpets. See the posts about Dance in a ricecarpet "Goddess of Rice?" and Making of Dance in a Ricecarpet in Etten-Leur .
The symbols stand for the cycle of life (the turning Sun, the directions of the wind) and the temporay of life.
I think it's the same Batik, too bad it wasn't displayed fully..

If you are in Rotterdam do visit the Wereldmuseum. The building is beautiful and they have 3 floors filled with special objects from all over the world (Africa, Asia, Oceania, America, Islamic culture)!

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