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Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles Hardcover – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles is a testament to [the authors'] careers as distinguished scholars, curators, and private collectors of Indonesian textiles." --Museum Anthropology Review

From the Inside Flap

Including many rare and antique examples, this luxurious volume introduces readers to the intoxicating and complex beauty of Indonesian cloth. Since the 1970s Mary Hunt Kahlenberg has been building her collection of exquisite ceremonial garments and sacred textiles from throughout Indonesia's chain of tropical islands.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel; Slp edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791350714
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791350714
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gini Alhadeff on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I cannot properly express how moved I am by this book--Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles--which I received for Christmas. From the physical aspect of it to the text it is steeped in a sort of concentrated quiet and beauty--a real beauty, as though the book were weaving itself out of knowledge accumulated over decades, consciously and unconsciously. The fabrics themselves are astonishing. I am only afraid that after looking at them closely it will be hard to look at any fabrics woven now, extraordinary though some of them may of course be. With these Indonesian ones the fineness of designs seems to come from a combination of so many layers of ritual, inspiration, and tradition that to look at them is to be drawn into a new (to me) universe of symbols and beliefs which I'll at least be able to study through the text.
It is a perfect book and if I were to save a few of all the ones I own this would be one of them--I am learning so much.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Breyer on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A remarkable book. Just released, it has become the defining work in Indonesian textile studies. The book is filled with lush and evocative images of one of the world's great Indonesian textile collections. The collection was lovingly gathered over the years by the pioneer of Indonesian textile appreciation, Mary Hunt Kahlenberg. The accompanying descriptions are written by the top scholars and enthusiasts in the field, all well known for their passion for Indonesia. For textile collectors it's a major addition to the library. For beauty lovers it's an aphrodesiac fantasy trip through the world's greatest and least understood textile traditions. Throughout the collection the heightened sensitivity and knowledgable hand of MHK is shown in her inimitable and rarefied taste. It can be read straight through but I like to dip into it periodically for a special textile buzz.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H Hernmarck on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As an artist in the field of textiles, I find this book to be a gem. The innovations and spirit of exploration that these weavers going back 500 years have left us, is invaluable. As we go forward, it behooves us to also look back for inspiration. All too often today's textile art is so easily produced, it gives but a short moment of pleasure . A young person interested in the field today, would do very well to study this book, and aim higher by going deeper. It is not just a matter of pretty designs, it is a matter of understanding both the culture that produced it, and the advanced structures it created. And being willing to spend the time it takes to become a master.
As Indonesia rushes forward to join the rest of the modern world, I am afraid a lot of ancient hand-skills will be forgotten. A book like this reminds us of what is being lost. I hope this will be appreciated by people who have the means to help slow down the rush towards progress, and alleviate great cultural losses before it is too late.
Mary Kahlenberg has done the field of textiles a magnificent service.
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