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Vera Tobing collection

(A study of a group of Toba Batak textiles most of which were inherited from two Batak women who were born in the last decade of the 19th Century and second decade of the 20th Century in villages around Tarutung, North Tapanuli, in North Sumatra (also known as the Silindung Valley)) - compiled by Pamela A Cross and Maria DRT Ambesa

these images are and may not be reproduced without the express permission of Pamela A Cross and Vera Tobing

click on main photo enlargement to go to Vera Tobing collection photogallery - click on any thumbnails to go to further photo enlargements

Raja Amandari Sabungan L. Tobing

Raja Amandari Sabungan ( Tobing ) who was the closed friend of Mr. Nommensen because Amandari had saved him from the assassination plan of another raja in Batak's Land.

Raja Amandari Sabungan L. Tobing, and he was the keeper of "Surat Balga" / Great Letter where Raja Amandari and Nommensen become brothers was written ).

We have no relationship to Raja Pontas Lumbantobing. But in 1980's my uncle wrote a correction to Kompas Daily that published an article about Raja L.Tobing who had welcome Ludwig Nommensen in Rura Silindung, which in the article said Pontas was the person not Amandari. (http://www.glorianet.org/berita/b4850.html) And my uncle wrote the document and photo is saved in a museum in German.

I have checked Gloria Cyber Ministry, and that news (attached) cannot be displayed any more. The text I underline says, Amandari Lumban Tobing gave a land on river side ( Aek Sigeaon ) to Nommensen after he healed Amandari's wife when she was dying. Amandari was the only king -of many kings in Batak land- that welcome Nommensen, because others thought Nommensen was one of Netherlands people.

The Tobing clan are:
- Ompung Sumurung in Saitnihuta village
- Ompung Sumuttul in Parbubu village

Raja Amandari Sabungan L. Tobing (called Ompung Sumurung) lived in Sahit Ni Huta. He had three sons: Mr Issak, Mr Jakobus, and unknown. Mr Jakobus had two sons: Unknown, and Mr Theodorik. Mrs Oloan remember why the family of Mr Jakobus left Tarutung; might be because of the stress of family because Mr Jakobus died when Mr Teodorik and brothers were small, and Mrs Jakobus worried if she had to marry one of her brother in law. Plus, because the surat Balga; Mr Amandari gave it to Mr Jakobus and it was a cause of a kind of jealousy of Mr Jakobus's brothers. Mr Teodorik's brother died before he got married.

I am sorry for the lack of information of the names of Mr Jakobus's brothers; my mother said Mr Simon is the one who knows best since he has the family tree of our Tobing. Frankly, this moment I have no willing to make contact with him or his family because of a family's matter that happened recently (I haven't told you about). I hope you understand. But I promise you when I get more info from other family member I will tell you.

I have to search the home of Surat Balga in internet, they said it is in a museum in German. My anunty Mrs Imelda said Mr Simon keeps the original and maybe the museum keeps the original copy. Oh, when will I be friend again to Mr Simon ya?

ulos in the Vera Tobing collection photographed by Mari Pro Foto Studio, Jawa Barat Depok
click on main photo enlargement to go to Vera Tobing collection photogallery - click on any thumbnails to go to further photo enlargements
go to Indonesia country page - go to Indonesia photogalleries and articles
Maria DRT Ambesa is the daughter of Vera Tobing and an architect now living with her husband in Java. She has been the essential intermediary allowing these fine textiles and their story to be shared. She arranged for the family ulos to be photographed and has worked tirelessly, together with her mother, to track down information about the ulos, their weavers and to extract memories and photos of the past from a family who have been amazed that there should be any interest in their history or value placed on it as background to the textiles. Maria's patience, persistence and endless cheerful support plus her excellent English, have made the 'Vera Tobing collection' not only possible but a thoroughly enjoyable study to develop.

Both Pamela and Maria are very grateful indeed for the encouragement and advice which they have received from Sandra Niessen, a leading expert on the Batak and their textiles. See an autobiography and Batak references for more information about Sandra and her publications.

Copyright © 2012 Pamela A Cross. The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Pamela A Cross.
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this page last updated 23 April, 2006