Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Nabholz-Kartaschoff, Marie-Louise, and Monika Palm-Nadolny. “Bolong-Bolong and Tirtanadi: An Unknown Group of Balinese Textiles.” Contact, Crossover, Continuity: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 22–24, 1994 (Los Angeles, CA: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1995), pp. 93–104.


Copyright © 1994 Marie-Louise Nabholz-Kartaschoff and Monika Palm-Nadolny


On late 19th- and early 20th-century photographs, South and East Balinese people clad in traditional adat wardrobe for rituals, temple ceremonies, and dances often wear transparent, netlike open-work textiles as breastcloth (anteng), shouldercloth (cerik) girdle (selendang), or headcloth (destar, lelunakan). Information given by elderly Balinese concerning the situation before World War II confirm their use as part of their ceremonial wardrobe but also as important items in offerings and rituals. Such textiles could be laid over several fabrics, covering the body of a toothfiling candidate, or serve as curtains (langse) for open pavilions or as an underlay (tatakan) for offerings, thus purifying the area, either in a family temple at the occasion of life and death rituals, or in one of the innumerable temples in the village.

So far, this category of fabrics has received little attention. Maybe, they are not as impressive and appreciated as the sumptuous courtly golden songket and perada textiles or the superb ikat fabrics, and particularly the famous geringsing double ikats. However, they turned out to be an extremely good example to follow up acculturation in its broadest anthropological sense; that is, how a foreign idea or model (acquired through contact) may lead to forms adapted to indigenous technology, to forms assimilated into formal and informal use in rituals and ceremonies (cross-over), and how these forms may be integrated into existing and further evolving concepts of meaning and worldview (continuity).