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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


Tomorrow I will visit a granddaughter of Mrs Ernestina, the daughter of her second children or her first daughter, Mrs M Barita br. Tobing. Her name is Mrs Ariatna br. Manulang. She told me that maybe there are still some photos from her mother's old album. About ulos, she wasn't sure if she have and she doesn't know which one is old or new. She was born and has been living in her parents home in Jakarta until now. Her parents have died. I hope I will have many stories I haven't heard before.

And the sad one, Mrs Ariatna: 'My mother didn't tell us about ulos, so when her wardrobe were full, I had to get rid of many of the old ulos because they were torn, I didn't know that they have to be sun-dried sometimes...'

Thank God, these old photos had been saved by Mrs Ariatna. I think I have to make a re-pro of them and send all for all family members, especially my mother. Mrs Aritna said she remembered that there are many more of them but she forgot where she put them.

Mrs Ariatna has 4 old ulos from Mrs Barita. Two Ragihotang ( similar to Mrs Ernestina's collection that my mother took from Siantar recently ), one Sibolang ( like Sibolang of Mrs Ernestina's ), and one this Black Selendang Ragidup. I haven't taken its photos yet, I just scanned it; its body panel and its 'pinarhalak' motif. This selendang is not like my mother's or common ragidup. It is just one cloth, and all black, and has flower motif like in sadum. I wonder if they, a long time ago, had a spirit of design experiment.

I have asked my mother her ages in EF photos. She said maybe she was 13 or 14 yr old in EF1.
In EF2, 10 yr old. She didn't remember what the occasion was, but she remember the hobby of Mr Manullang -Mrs Ernestina's son in law- was in photography.

Ariatna br.Manuling, Lina br.Manuling Barita br.Tobing and Mr Manulang Hotasi L.Manuling, should be Manullang. I am sorry if I was used to write manulang not manullang.
-From VTfamily page too, Mr Manulang husband of Ernestina and Theodorik's eldest daughter, Barita); should be manullang


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 19 April, 2006