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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

This ulos ragidup was woven in the Tarutung (North Tapanuli) area of North Sumatra. It measures 210 x 105 cm cm. It was given on 27 October 1942 as an ulos pansamot gift from the parents (the bride givers) of the bride, Tianur br. Hutabarat, to the parents of the groom (the bride takers) - Theodorik L. Tobing and his wife Ernestina br. Hutagalung - when their first born son, Tahi Sumurung L.Tobing, was married. It was later given by Ernestina to her granddaughter, Vera Tobing, the first born from the union of Tahi Sumurung and Tianur.

The ulos ragidup is comprised of three panels. The central panel has narrow indigo and natural warp stripes and fine supplementary weft end pieces with male and female pinar halak with the female end showing in the detail below. There are supplementary warp stripes on the centre-facing edge of each of the two border panels.

Although Tarutung is within the Toba Batak region, the style of this ulos ragidup differs somewhat from the style of the Toba Batak ulos ragidup woven in the area around Lake Toba itself more accurately called an ulos pinunsaan.

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 23 March, 2009