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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pasisir Batik Road - Cirebon - Masina Workshop

Outside H. Budiarno Masina's Batik & Antique Shop in Trusmi- Ian Reed, Ida Masina, Budi Masina & Self
[Photo-Anne Burgess]

H. Budiarno Masina (Budi), is the 5th generation of this famous batik family from the village of Trusmi, Cirebon.  Budi commenced batiking in 1980.  The workshop dates back to 1829.  Budi's mother was Ibu Masina who was an acclaimed batik artist.  The family's third generation batik makers were H. Mohammed Masina and his wife Bi Masio Narsibo.  The family received some of the sacred royal patterns of the court of Cirebon.
In BATIK- Fabled Cloth of Java published in 1984 by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., New York, Inger McCabe Elliott wrote- there are few north coast batikers these days who produce Cirebon batiks in tulis as well as the Masinas. 

Budi Masina with his son Hadiyono [Photo-Ian Reed]

Cirebon is situated on the north coast of Java, on the border between West and Central Java.  It was formerly a busy harbour visited by vessels from abroad as well as other parts of the Indonesian archipelago.  Cirebon had two royal courts: Kasepuhan and Kanoman.  It is also one of the nine centres from which Islam was spread throughout Indonesia.  It was one of the earliest Islamic states in Java and concentrated on the development of the arts and the spreading of the faith by peaceful means rather then military expansion.  There has been a rich fusion of religious faiths and cultures and it is easy to find the combination of Chinese, Arab and Hindu features with those of Cirebon.  An example of this fusion is the imaginary beast called the Peksi Naga Liman or the Singa Barong.

Cirebon batiks are the only textiles on Java which depict landscapes.These are usually representations of rock gardens and grottoes surrounding the palace of the local ruler, featuring fantastic animals borrowed from Hindu and Arab mythology (refer to an earlier posting of a work from the Masina workshop with the design known as Nagashebha ('seated serpent'), which features fantastic animals from Hindu mythology.

The works that have been sourced from Budi and Ida on this visit, will be illustrated in future postings once they have been professionally photographed.  They include a number of works by Ibu Masina and antique works from Pekalongan; a wonderful tiga negri (a cloth made in three different production centres on the Pasisir and central Java, combining the motifs and colours of all three) from Cirebon; a pagi-sore ('morning-afternoon') from Indramayu; and Tegal.

When you are next in Cirebon a visit to Budi and Ida Masina's shop is a must.  It will be an experience you will never forget.  Apart from the magnificent batik that will take days to go through, the walls of the shop are adorned with brilliant Indonesian paintings by major artists.  Sit down on the floor with Budi and Ida and enjoy being shown exquisite batik both old and new. 

Budi and Ida are two very kind, special and generous people who love to share their knowledge and passion for batik with you.  Hadiyono also shares with much enthusiasm his knowledge of batik and ensures your visit is an enjoyable and memorable one.

After visiting Budi, Ida and Hadiyono take a stroll across the street to Anggon, Wediyanto Masina's shop and workshop, it is also a must do.  Here you can watch in awe the batiking skills of the women who will each be working on cloths at various stages of the batik process.

Contact Details:

H. BUDIARNO MASINA (Budi, Ida & Hadiyono)
Batik and Antique Shop
Trusmi - Plered - Cirebon
Telephone: (0231) 321700

Wediyanto Masina (Budi's younger brother)
Trusmi Kulon No. 381
Plered - Cirebon
Telephone: (0231) 320300 - 320707
Hp: (0231) 3315015

Four extraordinary hours were spent with Budi, Ida and Hadiyono looking at exquisite antique batik cloths from their collection. Works ranged from a 130 year old batik in the European style from Pekalongan to a 50 year old work by Budi's mother Ibu, that has the appearance of a contemporary art work, the motif being, Lenggang Kangkung.
 [Photo-Anne Burgess].

Batik artists at work in Wediyanto Masina's (Budi's younger brother), workshop, Anggon, across the street from Budi and Ida.  Hand-drawn batik is called tulis after the Javanese word for "writing".  Tulis is the most time- consuming, expensive and highly prized batik.  The canting has a bamboo handle about six inches long, with a small, thin copper cup from which a tiny pipe protrudes.  The liquid wax flows through the the tiny pipe and is drawn onto the cloth.   [Photo-Anne Burgess].

The first waxing taking place- the waxed areas will remain the colour of the cloth after the first dye bath.  Here the cloth is draped over a bamboo frame called gawungan while the waxing takes place.  The batiker sits between the cloth and the pan of wax and begins her work with the canting.  Her free hand supports the underside of the cloth.  She covers her lap with a napkin or taplak to protect herself from dripping wax.
[Photo-Anne Burgess].

The thickness of the wax application will ensure the background remains clear of dye. This is a key characteristic of the excellent craftsmanship at the Masina workshop [Photo-Ian Reed].

This first waxing, or ngrengren, highlights the batik artist's amazing control and skill in the execution of this dynamic motif.  It is the workshop's skilled batikers who are choosen to apply the first wax outline to the cloth because this will largely determine the quality of the batik.
[Photo-Ian Reed].

Several women share a pan of heated wax around which the batik artists work.  Each worker sits on a stool with the wax and canting close at hand.
[Photo-Ian Reed].


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Travel on the Pasisir Batik Road - The National Museum of Indonesia

Nandi, the bull, is the mount of the Hindu god, Shiva the Destroyer.  From 13th - 14th c. it was found in Malang, East Java.  It exudes an impression of peace and tranquillity. [Photo- Ian Reed]

The Museum Nasional (the National Museum of Indonesia), has endeavoured to preserve Indonesia's heritage for two centuries and will continue to do so.  It has a broad and fascinating collection which covers all of Indonesia's territory and almost all of its history.  The Age of Enlightenment in mid 18th century Europe lead to European settlers in Indonesia to follow suit.  In April 1778, the Governor General of the Netherlands East-Indies Council, Reinier de Klerk, gave his permission to establish Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen (The Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences), the first society of its kind in Asia [The Museum Nasional Guidebook].

The Collections are immense and include excellent Textile and Ceramic collections.  There are clear connections between the motifs and colours found on some of the ceramic objects and those on various batik cloths especially those of Chinese origin.  We spent much time also in the outstanding Ethnography collection comprising a wide variety of objects that are part of Indonesian daily life as well as objects used in ceremonies and rituals.  It is important to remember that Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world which consists of over 300 ethnic groups.  The Museum has a wealth of stone statues relating to ancestral worship, Hindu gods and goddesses, kings and animals.

It was extremely encouraging to note that the Museum is in the process of upgrading the exhibition experience being provided for their visitors.  Outstanding objects are being given a curatorial context and supported by good exhibition design, interpretative and educational planning and an awareness of the conservation needs for each object.  While collections and exhibitions are central to the present museum experience, the objects are with the changes taking place, surrounded more and more by contextual and interpretive materials, storytelling, and an exploration of the meaning of the objects.  As a result visitors feel more informed and connected to the objects and the exhibition as well as, to the Museum.  An example of these changes can be seen in the ongoing development of the Indonesian Gold exhibition.  

The Indonesian Heritage Society organises free English tours of the museum at 10:30am every Tuesday and Thursday, every second Saturday and the last Sunday in the month.  There are tours for a number of other languages as well. 

We were given an outstanding tour by Terry Melendez, Vice-Chairman Operations, Indonesian Heritage Society- sincere thanks Terry.      

The Museum Nasional is on the western side of Merdeka Square:
Jl. Merdeka Barat 12, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia
Telephone: +62(21) 381 1551

Indonesian Heritage Society Library and Office:
17th Floor, Sentral Senayan 1
(adjacent to Plaza Senayan)
Telephone: +62(21) 572 5870