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Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Batik Road - Ibu Masina - Trusmi, Cirebon


Ibu Masina - Trusmi - Cirebon, 1960s
Skirt cloth kain panjang
Lenggang kangkung motif
Cotton, synthetic dyes, batik tulis
103.0 x 241.5 cm [Photo: Mick Richards]

Please click on all images to enlarge.

The work above (and detail below), was made in the workshop of Hajj Masina by his wife Ibu Masina in the early 1960s.  They were the parents of Budi Masina who has been highlighted in earlier posts.  Hajj and Ibu were the 4th generation of this renowned batik family in Trusmi, Cirebon.  The name of the motif lenggang kangkung was the inspiration of Hajj's father H. Mohammed Masina, the 3rd generation of the family.  He was also a farmer and gained inspiration for this motif from the fresh looking and verdant growth of his kangkung (water spinach) plants.  If you have visited Indonesia you would certainly have enjoyed kangkung as one of your vegetables.

The resulting motif lenggang kangkung certainly depicts all the characteristics of verdant growth.  These dark and mysterious forms, full of energy, are the embodiment of the sense of freedom obtained when suspended in water.  The irregularity of the placement of these forms across the surface of the kain panjang, amplified by the energy-rich flora motif (tanahan) on the background, add to this overall sense of dynamism.  The whole pictorial surface is alive and there appears to be nothing routine or simplistic in the bold artwork.

Detail of kain panjang with lenggang kangkung motif
[Photo: Mick Richards]

In contrast with this work by Ibu Masina from the 1960s is a kain panjang below made some ten years later by her.  It is far more subtle in both its colours and motif. What heightens its appeal is that the motif is depicted within diagonal bands or dlorong.  These bands along with the tonal variation of the colours within each of these bands establishes a strong sense of optical repetition.  As always with batik made by any of the five generations of the Masina family, this work is of excellent craftsmanship.  In this work Ibu has made use of the combination of traditional browns on a tan background that was typical of the work of H. Mohammed Masina and his wife Bi Masio Narsibo.

Thank you to Budi and Ida Masina and their daughter Dwie for their generous assistance identifying the motifs and the stories behind each of the batiks illustrated.  Thank you also for providing me with the list of names of the five generations of the Masina family and the approximate time each generation operated the workshop in Trusmi.  It all began in 1829 with AP. Adam and Mbok Rad.

Ibu Masina - Trusmi - Cirebon, 1970s
Skirt cloth kain panjang
Patran kembang (many flower tentacles), Babarmas (colour)
Cotton, synthetic dyes, batik tulis
105.0 x 236.0 cm [Photo: Mick Richards]

Detail of kain panjang with patran kembang motif
[Photo: Mick Richards} 

Detail of kain panjang with patran kembang motif
[Photo: Mick Richards]

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