PEKALONGAN - EUROPEAN FAIRY TALES
Towards the end of the 19th century with the expansion of Dutch colonial power, completely new batik designs with naturalistic images began to appear. The themes of these batik designs included boats, trains, card games, fans, bicycles, bank-notes and coins, and European fairy-tales. The European fairy-tales which were popular as themes for batik designs included Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty but Red Riding Hood was especially popular. Fairy- tales were popular as batik designs from around 1900 until 1920. The Indo-European made versions of these themes were also made in Javanese and Chinese workshops, with interesting variations occurring.
Please click on all images to enlarge.
The variations that occur in the batik designs with the Red Riding Hood (Roodkapji) theme are many. This does not depend on the maker being Indo-European or Chinese or Javanese. Eliza van Zuylen produced works with a particular theme that differed from others she had produced with that theme and differed again to others executed by her colleagues, with the same theme. Perhaps this may have been an attempt by each batik-maker to personalise the design as many batik workshops including van Zuylen's, worked from large drawings purchased from freelance artists. Hence all workshops who purchased the large drawings began with identical patterns. The large drawings were used as the support for the wax tracings.
The format of kain sarungs had gradually changed over time. Initially the kepala bisected the badan then later it was placed at one end of the cloth and finally in Indo-European designed cloths the kepala was placed at one hand's width from the end of the cloth. The Chinese batik-maker of this cloth has adopted the Indo-European format as seen below and in Detail 2.
The borders at the top and bottom of this cloth are symmetrical. The same design is used in the outer edges of the kepala. The bow border consists of unrecognisable flowering creepers which have been interwoven with fish and prawns. The drawing style of the large lobsters in the kepala and the fish and prawns in the borders reminds me of the Indramayu style except in this work, the flow of line is not as free. There is an outer edge of small vertical lines at both the top and bottom. These vertical lines appear to be further apart then seen in earlier examples.