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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

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Mrs Tianur's parents are Mr Josep Hutabarat and br Tobing. Mr Josep came from a background of great wealth in Hutabarat-Sisunggulon-Doloknagodang. Mrs Tianur was a rich girl, so she didn't have to earn money by weaving. She did it because she wanted to and Mrs Lirou said she was good in almost anything she did.

From Mrs br. Tobing, Mrs Tianur had 2 sisters ( Mrs Tianggur - has died - , Mrs Derima ) and one brother ( Mr Kasman ). Mrs br Tobing died when they were small. Meanwhile, Mr Josep had been spent all the wealth and bankrupt. Then he married br. Hutasoit. From Mrs br. Hutasoit he had 5 children; 3 sons ( Tolopan - has died - , Manto, Tonggo Budiman) and 2 daughters ( Lirou, born in 1951, and Meijiano ). Mr Josep died in 1972.
Mrs Derima, Mr Manto, Mr Tonggo live in Tarutung, Mr Kasman and Mrs Lirou in Jakarta.

Mrs Tianur married Mr Tahi Sumurung on 1941 and they have two daughters ( Vera / Veronica Pintauli, Imelda ) and four sons ( Simon Hamonangan, Parulian, Frans, Pardamean ). My uncle Parulian and Pardamean have died. Mr Simon and Mrs Imelda live in Jakarta, and Mrs Vera and Mr Frans live in Medan.

Mrs Lirou ( born in 1951 ) said she did weaving much more because she had had to live her family since she was 10ys old girl. She was expert in Sadum weaving and only wove Sadum. But she has no her own Sadum because all of them always been sold. She never used traditional threads, and if she got order from a rich one she was given the DMC threads. She frequently made different motif because she wanted her Sadum more special than other's, so that the price could be higher. She had woven until 1975. She stopped since she run her own restaurant. She made a critic on today Batak sarong or usually called Songket batak, which take much sadum motif with bright or gold colours but are not woven properly or finely ( sorry for my limited vocabulary ).

Mrs Lirou had a a run-away marriage = mangalua (1972), not because of her parent or her become parents in-law didn't approve but because of 'the condition' she said, which couldn't make adat wedding possible to be ran. They made the adat after she have children, but her father had died (1970) .

Mr Kasman is the youngest child from Mrs Tianur's mother; br. Tobing, the first wife of their father. I must ask him or Mrs Lirou about Raja Renatus.

 

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
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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 20 April, 2006