Mar. 29th, 2010

tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
[personal profile] tiaramerchgirl
Item is a somewhat rumpled and faded flyer, about A5 size. It is predominantly blood red, and the central figure is of a woman's bare back with an intricate henna design. Surrounding and radiating from the woman are spirals and whirls in similar design to the henna.

The paper is curiously glossy for its vintage. The henna-like design seems to be in a different ink than the rest of the paper. It seems like there was selective screenprinting - a stencil for the body, then the background, then the designs drawn over in some sort of luminescent rainbow-shimmering pen.

The flyer was written in Jawi, likely in a Javanese dialect. Initial translation shows that the bottom third of the flyer is for an event - a cabaret? - likely named "Wayang Atycara" and reads:


For the indulgence [satisfaction?] of your shadow

Ronggeng with Lalit Abhinaya
Ketoprak Bangsawan
Dongdang Sayang

Raja-Asi 17, 12 Rabi-Ul Akhiri 1235 Hijrihi

I can't tell if the 3 names are bands, types of performances, or what. They seem to refer to specific folk dances, but the timing is inconsistent - 19th century operas with 15th century Javanese dances? Possibly a revivalist movement?

Some of the names, and the flyer art, infer possible erotic content. Could this be why the address is so scant?

there doesn't seem to be a tag for "artifact: advertising"...
((ye god's i'm such a noob))
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
[personal profile] tiaramerchgirl
Item is on a parchment-like material embroidered around the edges with gold thread. The ink does not look especially unusual but its substance is not known.

Parchment seems to be written in the Minangkabau language of Western Sumatera. Translation provides this:

The Mato [head mother] Bunia of Ngarai Sianok
invites you to the wedding of

Grand Daughter Siareen Bunia


Aditja Marsukitjina
Kamakanan [heir] of Mato Darek Merapi

Isnen 2 Jumaada al-THaany 1191 Hijrihi
Anno Dominus 7 Julai 17-77

First star after sunset, when the sky is as blue as sapphire.
Rumah Gadang Buni Sianok, after the Pungent-Flower and the riverbend

Visitors: Follow the scent of the Pungent-Flower and wait by the petals. After each star the Kamakanan of Mato Bunia will allow you entry. Only those with this decree of welcome as marked by Mato Bunia will be allowed into the Rumah Gadang.

Then there was another two lines in a barely-visible and unintelligable script.

The parchment made whistling-like sounds when waved; it is unclear whether it is the property of the parchment or something else.

References to Buni and Bunia may point to the Orang Bunian, or Whistle-Elves, who are normally unseen by human eyes. Marriages between Bunian and humans are not uncommon and have been recorded in historical accounts of Sumatera, but it is rare to obtain a direct artifact.

Could the Pungent-Flower refer to what we now call Rafflesia? Botanists?
frangipani: old map of Southeast Asia (Nusantara)
[personal profile] frangipani
Item is a baldric (or sash) made of tanned goatskin, with six small pockets: two of them square and buttoned, four of them rectangular and open-ended pockets. Its small size suggests that the item was made for a young child, to be worn bandolier-like across the chest and possibly secured at the shoulder. For lack of other, more convincing hypotheses as to its function, the item was tentatively identified as a version of a toolbelt.

Length: 158cm (circumference)
Width: 12cm

The item was stored in a box made from the wood of Cryptomeria japonica. The likelihood of the great expense this would incur suggests that the item was made for or commissioned by a person of wealth. The box in turn was wrapped in cotton cloth dyed with Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Samples have been sent for radiocarbon dating -- the lack of wear and tear on the item suggests it was never used.

When the item was removed from its box, a small paper card was discovered. A message in Malay was written on the card in careful, decorative Jawi calligraphy. The translation reads: "For my beloved child."
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