jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
Item is a wraparound blouse made of linen, that appears to have been formerly white, but is now yellowed. It has long sleeves, down to the elbow, and the length comes down to the knees, with a sash that wraps around the waist at least twice. The result is a sort of cross between a ruqun and a banbi, perhaps adapted from China for the warm Nusantara climate.

Of particular interest is the extremely intricate beading and embroidery, in the same of bunga telang (butterfly pea) vines all along the edges of the garment . The beading style is reminiscent of Nyonya shoes, adapted from the English in the 19th century. The embroidery style is traditional Malay tekat with golden thread. The tekat style is used for the shape of leaves and vines, and the beading for the flowers.

I am dating this to the 19th century, since the Nyonya beading style has no history of appearing earlier in the region. But then, the beading style was also used for shoes, not garments, so this is up for debate.
frangipani: old map of Southeast Asia (Nusantara)
[personal profile] frangipani
Item is a square piece of brightly-coloured, woven fabric, measuring about 1 m². Based on the geometric motifs and the colours (black, red, yellow and white) the fabric was identified as kain dastar commonly made by the Bajau and Irranun (also known as Iranun or Illanun). Given that a prominent motif of the woven patterns is that of horses, it is likely that it was moven for or by a Bajau person.

The extraction of samples for testing was unexpectedly delayed when it was discovered that the fabric is impervious to metal scalpels used in our laboratory. Vigorous experiments based on the hypotheses of our researchers (some conducted, regrettably, without supervision) also reveal that the fabric is fireproof and acidproof. Kain dastar is commonly utilised for headgear (podong) by the Bajau -- that there was an apparent necessity for one that is near-indestructible begs the question as to the circumstances under which it was created and its actual practical function.

Thus far we have unable to ascertain either the age of the item or the fibre used to produce it. A request for the purchase of synthetic diamond scalpel blades has been forwarded to our financial department.
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."
frangipani: old map of Southeast Asia (Nusantara)
[personal profile] frangipani
Item is a ring made of tumbaga, a gold-copper alloy, and discovered placed within another item previously catalogued: a pair of green silk brocade shoes. The item was wrapped in a square of white linen -- unhemmed and uneven, with ragged edges, indicating that it was probably torn from a larger piece of cloth.

The ring is likely to be originally almost perfectly circular, with a diameter of approx. 16mm. Unfortunately, a significant dent in the ring makes it difficult to measure the diameter and circumference accurately. Pitting and substantial heat damage have degraded the outside surface of the ring -- archeologist S.A. determined this was likely from an explosion.

A Chinese character was carved into the inner surface of the ring: 肝 ("liver"). Linguists speculate that the character was used in a specific context, not literally, but thus far the actual meaning of its usage eludes us.
frangipani: old map of Southeast Asia (Nusantara)
[personal profile] frangipani
Item is a pair of women's shoes in green silk brocade, measuring approx. 24.5cm from toe to heel, lined with quilted silk and kapok fibre. The weave of the brocade is typical of Shu brocade, with a simple pattern of small white flowers with eight tapered petals (Jasminum sambac?). The outsoles of the shoes were made from the hide of water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). Tests indicate that the item dates back to the late 19th century.

The shoes are in a fairly good condition. The outsoles have been replaced at least once, as indicated by stitching on the lateral side of the shoes. Traces of soot and mineral oils (mainly kerosene) are easily detectable on the soles. The silk brocade shows minimal water and soil stains, which may suggest that the shoes were worn indoors. Threadbare patches and multiple mending in the lining also suggest that the shoes were likely to be part of frequent wear.

Item was found with a ring (wrapped in a square of white linen) placed in the vamp of the right shoe -- to be cross-referenced once an abstract is entered into the system.
jolantru: (steampunk)
[personal profile] jolantru
A silver broach, intricate worksmanship (royal artisan), filigree silver. Inlaid mother-of-pearl. Upon examination, a secret compartment under the main jewel (ruby - expensive).

Weight: 30 g
Length: 9 cm.
Width: 3 cm
Origin: Peranakan? (Hints of Majapahit Empire).

I found this broach tucked under a whole pile of fabrics. After a careful cleaning, the item was examined, weighted and catalogued. I theorize the item might have been used in espionage missions. The secret compartment seems to have contained traces of an unknown chemical (which I have duly sent to the Laboratories for an in-depth evaluation). My esteemed colleague in Fabrics And Garments has suggested that this might be a kerosang of some sort.

The silver broach is beguiling and begs to be examined further.

PS: Dear esteemed colleagues, I have catalogued the item under 'Artifact: Clothing'.
PPS: I need to go back to my collection of pterandon bones - there are sightings I need to investigate, but alas! the items! the items!


Steampunk Nusantara: S.E.A. Steampunk

October 2010

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