BATIK BELANDA SARONG WITH BLERIOT AIRPLANES
Circa 1915, cotton, 42 inches by 73 inches
A Delaware diplomat who spent many years in Asia collected this rare batik sarong made on the north coast of Java, probably in Pekalongan. It appears to commemorate the 1909 flight of French aviator Louis Bleriot (1872-1936)—the flower propeller may be fanciful, but the central posts with the radiating wires that support the monoplane’s wings are unmistakable. Berliot’s monoplane made the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft over the English Channel, which would explain the battleships if not the menacingly large sea creatures.