Asian Costumes and Textiles



An Exhibition of 19th and 20th Century

Asian Costumes and Textiles




April 11-16, 1996

Center for Korean Studies Building,

University of Hawai’i at Manoa


Dr. Linda Boynton Arthur, Curator

Mr. Brice Beemer, Assistant Curator

Mr. Richard Cook, Creative Director

And the Students of TxCl 491: Museum Studies


Sponsored by the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources’

Historic Costume Collection, and the Center for Korean Studies, in

conjunction with the Association for Asian Studies Conference.


This exhibit features approximately one hundred costumes and textiles from the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources’ Historic Costume Collection, the largest Asian costume collection in an American university.

While most of the documentation of the artifacts was provided by Ms. Oma Umbel, Dr. Mary Ellen Des Jarlais, former curators, and Dr. Linda Boynton Arthur, Curator, other experts have been consulted. We would like to express our appreciation to Mr. Paul Rausch, Educational Specialist, Center for Korean studies, Professor Soon-Im Chee, Ms. Jeyson Lee and Mr. Mike Pettid, also from the Center for Korean Studies, Ms. Lynn Yorita and her family of kimono experts, and members of the TxCl 491 course on Museum Studies.

Dr. Linda Boynton Arthur, Curator

CTAHR Historic Costume Collection

Department of Human Resources

University of Hawai’i at Manoa

956-2234; E-mail



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3" Golden Lotus Shoe

Footbinding: The practice of footbinding in China lasted approximately one thousand years. Although it began as an upper-class fashion, footbinding became quite common for most women before it was outlawed in the 20th Century. Considered beautiful, women with bound feet were able to marry men from higher classes, a practice called hypergamy. Four toes were bound under the foot, which led to an enlarged ankle and required support. An adult woman’s foot was ideally three inches in length; the rose and green embroidered Golden Lily Slipper shown here was the 3" ideal (Accession #64-2-FDM).

Hong Kong Bridal Dress: Brides in Hong Kong dressed in a variation of the Chinese Han bridal dress. The three-quarter length upper body garment worn with a front and back paneled pleated shirt similar to the Han dress of the 1800’s. The black color of the upper body garment is unusual for a bride, but there is evidence that Accession #: A. 1979.10.04a and A.1979.10.04b

Gold Dragon Robe; late Qing dynasty: The front, back, shoulders and under panel of the robe have nine five-clawed dragons couched in gold yarns surrounded by flaming pearls and flowers, all on a blue silk satin ground; the neck opening has a wide band of gold couched flowers, the floral band is repeated on ends of the black silk, horse hoof cuffs; the lower part of the robe is ornamented with shui jiao, deep water, pattern in alternating stripes of two tones of gold yarns, above stylized surging waves, rocks and symbolic treasures. Obtained in Shanghai in late 1945.

Date: ca 1890-1911

Donors: Mr. and Mrs. David A. Benz

Accession #: A.1990.03.01

Cheong Sam: The cheong sam is still worn in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei, as well as Honolulu. This cheong sam was designed in brilliant white with gold trim by a University of Hawaii student in the Fashion Design and Merchandising program in 1964

Donor: Carole Naone

Accession #: A.15-14 FDM



Afhani Man's Ensemble:  tombons, shalwar, blue velvet vest with gold embroidery and beaded hat.  This man's outfit is made of white hand-woven cotton shirt and trousers (tombons & shalwar); shirt is embriodered in white on white.

Accession #: 1977.04.04 a,b,c,d

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Afgani Woman’s Chadri or Burqua: Worn by Muslim women, who practice purdah, or separation of the sexes, the Burqua is used to protect women’s honor and contain sexuality. The burqua is worn over other clothing when Afghani women are in public.

Accession #: A.1977.05.20



Kebaya-Panjang, Malayan woman's two piece outfit, kebaya panjang and sarong.  The long, fitted, flared kabaya panjang was adopted from Portuguese women who came to Malacca in the 16th century.  The sarong was formed into a wrapped and stitched skirt.  The fabric is green Kelanatan silk (songket) with silver thread woven design.   Accession #: Malaysia-15-3-FDM

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Selendang. A stole made of kelantan songet, a heavy handwoven silk. This stole is in shades of rust with a small textured pattern in single ikat. Gold tinsel yarns are used for the border and motifs. Accession #: Malaysia-62-3-FDM

Iban Woman’s Sarong. Warp ikat skirt or sarong, woven of cotton yarns with polychrome borders along selvages and figured center of cream, blue, brown on rust. Accession #: Malaysia 15-5-FDM

Iban Woman’s Sarong. Warp ikat skirt or sarong, made of coarse cotton yarns in grey greens. Accession #: Malaysia 15-6-FDM



Barkcloth Upper Body Cover. Celebes, Indonesia.

Worn by Toraja women. Fibers from the mulberry plant have been pounded into a flat fabric called Fuya, which is a shaped upper body garment called lemba. The U shaped neckline is ornamented with a dark brown handwoven fabric attached with a running stitch. Magenta and blue triangles, stripes, crosses and lines outline the hem, sleeve and neckline area. Accession #: A.1981.01.02

Kebaya, Sarong, Selendang, Stagen. The mannequin to the right is dressed Javanese style, wearing a kebaya from the 1920s with a North-coast batik sarong and selendang. Dutch motifs, flowers and birds are used in this style. The sarong and selendang are batik tulis, with numerous bright colors applied following successive waxings.

Accession #: A1994.1.10                  Kebaya, pink cotton voile, pastel embroidered flowers
Accession #: 20-12-FDM                  Sarong and Selendang, teal, lavender, green, batik tulis

Kebaya, Sarong, Selendang, Kemben. The mannequin to the left is dressed Balinese style, wearing a contemporary lace kebaya with a Balinese ikat sarong and selendang. Over the Kebaya is a fuschia kemben, made in songket with a supplementary weft of gold thread. Irridescent rayon yarns, prepared by the resist process referred to as ikat, were dyed in green, pink and gold. Metallic gold thread enhances the effect.

Accession #: A 1994.1.12                  Kemben, fuschia silk, supplementary weft of gold thread
Accession #: A 1994.1.11                  Kebaya, gold nylon lace
Accession #: 20-15 FDM                    Sarong and Selendang, green, pink, gold iridescent ikat

Blangkon. Several blangkon are shown in this exhibit. Worn by men in Yokjakarta, these draped turbans are made from batik squares. The knob in the back simulates an earlier hairstyle, where men wore their hair in a knot at the back of the head.
Accession #62-6-FDM     Accession # 62-7-FDM      Accession #62-18-HE     Accession # 62-10-FDM

Balinese Turban. Worn by men on Bali, made of tjinde, a red-violet handwoven fabric with silver threads.
Accession #62-11-FDM

Pitji. Worn by Muslim men on Java, this black velvet hat is worn as a symbol of Indonesian nationalism.
Accession #Indonesia-62-12-FDM

Slendang-Cream and red with small, all-over pattern of insects. Red and blue border. Made in North Central Java. Accession #: Indonesia-62-16-FDM

Songket-Bali. Heavy cerise colored silk fabric woven with silver tinsel floats. Accession #: 40-7-FDM

Udeng-Batik. Small all over patterns in cream, tan and navy blue.  Accession #: Indonesia-62-4-FDM

Slendang. Batik scarf-Tan "garuda bird" design on navy background.  Accession #62-2-FDM.

Kain. Batik tjap. Diagonal design with circular disks thru out the kain.  Accession #: 20-9-FDM

Scarf. Ikat. Black background with 3" deep red borders along the selvage edges center section has a simple white warp Ikat design, divided by 3 stripes. Pattern is repeated in 5" border.  Accession #: -80-3-FDM

Selendang; Kain Songket. Silk and Gold shoulder cloth, Minangkabau people, West Sumatra. Finely woven cloths of silk and gold such as this were used in gift exchange. The pattern is produced by adding a gold and silver supplemental weft. Accession #: A.1983.01.01; Donors: Mr. and Mrs. Will Lidsker.

Woman’s Head Cover. Sumatra, Palembang area. It is thought that this finely woven ceremonial cloth was worn in an elaborate headdress folded with two horn-shaped corners. The central area has eight-pointed stars and motifs created with supplementary weft metallic gold threads. Accession #: A.1983.01.02; Donors: Mr. And Mrs. Will Lidsker.

Selendang. Silk Kain Songket with central ikat design. This woman’s ceremonial red and gold shoulder cloth, called a Kain Songket, has a central area of a complex ikat with a floral motif. Ikat designs are produced by dying selected areas of the weft yarns prior to weaving. Supplementary weft in 24 karat gold was added in the weaving. This beautiful cloth was folded and worn over the shoulder for special ceremonial occasions. A large belt with a gold buckle secured it to the waist area. Weft: 76.6 cm, Warp: 202.0 cm. Date: ca. 1875-1900; Accession #:A.1981.01.01

Tapis. Sumatran Woman’s Ceremonial Sarong. Lumpung, Sumatra; Kauer People. Cotton; gold wrapped thread, metallic thread and sequins. The garment was once sewn in a tube-like shape called a sarong. The bold striped fabric is heavily ornamented with fish, birds, trees and roosters representing courage and fertility. Warp: 140cm, Weft: 105.5cm; Date: Late 19th-Early 20th century Accession #: A.1978.07.01

Selendang; Kain Songket. Silk and Gold shoulder cloth from the Minangkabau people, in the area of Bukittinggi in Sumatra. Finely woven cloths of silk and gold such as this were used in gift exchange and worn for ceremonial occasions. The pattern is produced by adding a gold and silver supplemental weft. Warp: 171.4cm Weft: 43.0 cm. Donor: Mr. And Mrs. Will Lidsker. Accession #: A. 1983.01.01

Woman’s Head Cover. Sumatra, Palembang area. It is thought that this finely woven ceremonial cloth is worn by the Minangkabau women in an elaborate headdress folded with two horn-shaped corners. The central area had eight-pointed stars and motifs are created with the supplementary weft weaving process. Silk, metallic gold threads. Donors: Mr/Mrs. Will Lidsker. Accession A.83.01.02

Selendang. Silk Kain Songket with central ikat design. This woman’s ceremonial red and gold shoulder cloth, called a Kain songket, has a central area of a complex ikat with a floral motif. Ikat designs are produced by dying selected areas of the weft yarns prior to weaving. Supplementary weft in 24 karat gold was added in the weaving. Date: ca. 1875-1900, Accession #:A.1981.01.01



Ainu Elm Bark Robe: This hand woven elm bark robe with embroidery on blue cotton fabric is worn by the Ainu, a proto-Caucasian people inhabiting the northern end of the Japanese archipelago. However, due to the Japanese government’s assimilation policy, the Ainu are becoming integrated into the larger society. Hence, the population of Ainu is decreasing. Accession #: A.1992.05.01

Japanese Woman’s Silk Kosode - An interesting note came with the gifted kosode (short sleeved kimono) in 1854, when Commodore Matthew Perry signed the treaty with Japan opening the Japanese ports to American trade. At that time there was a considerable exchange of gifts. The royal blue, silk, satin weave, padded kimono is said to have been given to an American admiral. The robe is ornamented with gold file (a core yarn that is wrapped with flat strips of gold) that is couched (laid onto and attached to the fabric. The yarn is so thick and delicate that it cannot be sewn by the customary process of pulling it through the fabric. Its motifs are symbolic and represent the four seasons. Date: ca 1825-1854 Donor: Dr. and Mrs. Glenn Marders Accession #: A. 1981.02.01

Contemporary Bridal Ensemble.  The dressing of a traditional Japanese bride is a complex procedure involving numerous layers and undergarments. Technical expertise, and loan of all sixteen items other than the uchikake, courtesy of Lynn Yorita and the Yorita family. The ensemble is coordinated around the use of numerous wedding symbols, particularly cranes, birds that mate for life. The green kimono with the peony, a Spring flower, is appropriate for a wedding at this time of the year, and is worn over numerous undergarments. The obi is tied in the classic bow appropriate to the samurai class. Hair ornaments, dating from the 1930s to the 1960’s adorn the traditional wig. The bridal overkimono, the Uchikake, is one of several in the Historic Costume Collection. Made of silk satin with motifs woven in with silver yarns, this uchikake features chrysanthemums, large water wheels, and cranes as design motifs often embroidered and couched in gold metallic yarns. Date:1980’s Donor: Mr. Glen Kaya Accession #: A.1990.12.01 CK
Underkimono, and all other items, courtesy of Yorita Family

Orange/Black Furisode. This long sleeved kimono, or furisode, was made for an airline attendant who flew back and forth between Japan and Hawai’i, hence the design included Hawaiian flowers. Made of crepe fabric, the furisode uses motifs of roses, orchids and birds. The hems are padded twice. Date: 1960s Accession #: Japan 15-21-FDM



This family grouping is dressed in traditional daily costumes. However, at present, these costumes are generally worn for special occasions such as New Year’s and special events:

Korean woman’s Ensemble:  The woman wears a Sam Hae Jang Chogori (upper body cover) and chima (long skirt) made of red and green tissue silk. Courtesy of Ms. Chom-Soon Yim.

Korean Man’s Ensemble:  This man is also dressed in fine tissue silk, in shades of blue. He wears baji (trousers), chogori (upper body cover), worn under the Jokki Magoja (outer jacket). Courtesy of Pastor Kwan-wan Chang

Korean Boy’s Ensemble:  In garments similar to those of adults, the little boy also wears tissue silk garments in shades of blue. Baji (trousers) and chogori (upper body cover) are worn under the pae cha (vest). a black pok kon (hat) is worn as well. Courtesy of Ms. Yong-il Lee

Korean Girl’s Ensemble:  In garments similar to those of women, the little girl also wears tissue silk garments in shades of red. The chima (skirt) and chogori (upper body cover) are worn under the dang eui (vest). A black jo ba wi (hat) is worn as well. Courtesy of Ms. Hanael Chang.

Korean Shaman:  These garments are worn by a female Korean shaman at the beginning of some shaman rituals when she is invoking the spirits of various Buddhist deities. The white robe and the Buddhist nun’s hat are symbolic of the purity and sincerity that must be present during these rituals. While the shaman wears these garments, she will pray before the altar, chant songs to the deities and dance while gracefully sweeping her long sleeves through the air. This garment is also used in some Buddhist dances. Costume on loan, courtesy of Mike Pettid



Ao Dai:  Man’s black figured rayon knee-length tunic with traditional Chinese neckband and right side opening which is fastened with cloth loops and small brass buttons. Long Kimono sleeves are cut narrow. Tunic is slit to the waist at side seams. Purchased in Saigon in 1963. Worn with white trousers. 
Accession #: 15-6 FDM  

Ao Dai and Quan:  Woman’s coral crept tunic and white crepe trousers. Traditional ao dai has been modified by eliminating the Chinese collar and using a plain bateau neckline. Front is decorated with sequins and beads. The legs of the quan are cut narrower than is traditional, to conform to western styles.
Accession #: 15-7 FDM



Maria Clara Dress.  While the style of this two-piece dress is consistent with western fashion at the turn of the century, the garment is made of silk and flax to resemble the Philippines indigenous pina fabric. The influence of Spanish immigrants into the Philippines is seen in the use of black lace on the garment. Additionally, the full sleeves are similar to the butterfly used on the Filipina’s Terno.
Date: 1890-1900 Accession #: B.76.260a and 260b

Barong Tagalog.  The Spanish introduced embroidery to the Philippines. A man’s dress shirt, the barong tagalog, is worn over pants rather than tucked in, in order to best show the embroidery and cutwork done in floral motifs. Made of sheer fabric of pina (pineapple) fiber. Accession #: A.1986.02.01

Panuelo.  The pina panuelo is a large scarf worn over the shoulders and fastened at center front over the bust. Also influenced by Spanish Styles, the panuelo is reminiscent of modesty scarves worn in the western world in the 16th century. Accession #: I.15-16.UH.6

Jusi fabric-sheer silk fabric with metallic threads for decoration. Pina fabric-Embroidered fabric, prepared with cutwork and embroidery for Barong Tagalog shirt front.



Red Mussah Tribe Ensemble:  The red and black jackets of the Mussah women are decorated with colorful embroidery, silver disks, and old silver coins, anna and rupee. These silver disks and coins are sewn on in various patterns on the jacket. Three large silver disks are used as fastenings. The Mussah women’s skirts are tubular in shape. The black skirts are trimmed with red fabric stitched into a tubular form. This skirt is 42" long and 50" around. Accession #: Thailand 15-18 UH

Chakree  Three-piece ensemble. Pink/gold silk brocade songket on skirt and scarf, with blouse made in plain Thai silk. Donor: Mrs. Lola Stone Accession #: 1977.04.07 a,b,c

Dowrey Chest, Chinese Indonesian. Deep red wooden lacquer covers the entire chest. Black lacquer designs: scrolls of cloth, peonies of wealth, scrolling leaves, and fret border embellish this chest. The interior is painted in a similar manner, and has two small trays at either end of the chest. Each of these has two compartments. Donors: Mr. and Mrs. Will Lidsker Accession #: A.1973.1.1



Bharata Natyam, Indian Dancer’s Costume:  The female dancer wears an outfit of royal blue silk satin, with red and gold brocade trim. The ensemble is composed of a short upper body cover, choli, with a fan-shaped attachment at the bottom of the center front. The center front closes with metal clasps, unlike the usual choli style of closing in the center back. Over the choli is the melakky, a surplice-styled vest. On the lower body, the intricately pleated pants also feature a fan-pleated design between the legs. A decorative scarf covers the head, and jewelry is abundant. Date: ca 1960-1980. Accession #: A.1992.07.01 a,b,c,d,e and f.

Bridal Ensemble from Orissa, in Eastern India.  The silk sambalbur saree was handloomed in Orissa for a 1995 wedding. Worn over a matching choli. Yellow, red and green are ceremonial colors. The saree is highly decorated, using peacock embroidery, and is tied with kamandhani around the waist in a manner common for weddings in northern India. A decorative scarf covers the head. Accessories, such as the tikka and bindhi on the forehead are worn for beauty, with abundant jewelry. The bindhi, particularly in red and white, symbolizes marriage. Date: 1995. On loan, courtesy of Anuradha



Informal Ensemble from Sikkim:  Costume of former consort of Sikkim, Hope Cooke. The apron signifies that the bearer is married, and the gift of a scarf is similar to the western practice of exchanging calling cards. Red in any of its shades is the most popular color among the women of this country. This costume contains several elements: A hat, Shamoo, a blouse, Andu, a scarf, Kata, a full-length robe called Auduh. The paneled apron, Pangden, carefully handloomed in twenty-two colors, was worn over a sleeveless tunic.
Accession #: A.1977.10.06 a,b,c,d.

Push Kurta and Ejar, from Pakistan.  This beautifully and carefully embroidered upper body garment, pushk kurta, has an almost solidly embroidered center front, greban. The geometric motifs are of cotton while the garment itself is of rayon. The lower body garment, ejar, has an adjustable waist, and legs tapered to blouse according to the wearer’s height. Origin: Kalab, Baluchistan in Pakistan. Accession #: A.1987.08.01 a and b



Kalaga. Elaborate wall hangings originally handcrafted for the Royal Palace and monasteries in Mandalay, the Buddhist capital of Burma (now Myanmar), kalaga show representations from the life of Budda. This Kalaga symbolized the arrival of the Gods in Burma and was the gift of the Burmese to an American diplomat at the embassy in Rangoon. The base cloth is cotton, designed with silver and gold thread, embroidery and sequins in geometric patterns and Buddhist symbols. Circles enclose elephants, considered propitious in Buddhism. Accession #: A.1991.08.01



Wall Hanging: Made by the single ikat technique, handwoven rough-textured silk yarns in black, rust, orange and green. Pictoral hanging, featuring people and animals around a building. Acc. #: Cambodia - 80-1-FDM

Kroma: Loosely woven red checked fabric used for a kroma, or turban, by women in Cambodia. # 20-1-FDM

Sarong: Striped silk, small amount of ikat (wax resist done in yarn prior to weaving). Accession # 40-2-FDM

Single Ikat Fabric: This all silk fabric has diamond shaped design motifs in gold, red, and green #: 40-6-FDM