This textile is an excellent example of an object which has travelled in distance and time during its lifespan. At the same time it has acquired several new meanings. It was produced in Northwest India as a commodity for export to Indonesia in the 18th century. Among the To Kaili people in Central Sulawesi it was classified a “precious cloth”, not worn daily, but preserved as a family valuable and used as a ritual textile. Later on it was transferred to Finland and became part of the museum’s collection. Now this item´s biography refers to the great Indian textile tradition, trade between India and Indonesia, the religious and social life among the To Kaili people in Sulawesi and the Finnish missionary work in Indonesia.
This Indian textile was acquired by a Finnish Salvation Army officer, Edvard Rosenlund (1895–1939), in Bora, Central Sulawesi (Celebes), Indonesia in 1922– 1928. Rosenlund worked in Central Sulawesi 1919–1928 and collected about 500 objects, took photos, made a film and wrote several newspaper articles about the local culture. According to Rosenlund “The most antique piece of cloth that I have been able to get hold of there. It has formerly been the property of the powerful prince of Sigi. Nowadays it represents capital. At great festivals they hang up such antique pieces of cloth under which the priestesses perform their dances. The price of this piece was earlier 7 slaves and 7 buffaloes. Acquired at Bora. Provenance unknown.”