Batik of Java: poetics and politics

At last I am back to publish a new post- much has been progressed with the exhibition.  On Saturday 14 November we hosted a lunch for all those involved directly in the project.  This enabled the curator, Dr Maria Friend to meet with contemporary artist Dadang Christanto; arts writer Yuliana Kusumastuti (Nana); gallery director representing Dadang's work, Jan Manton and Trevor; the Director of the organising gallery, John Waldron; the tour manager, Nina Shadforth and the collectors, Greg Roberts and Ian Reed.  Four hours later much had been discussed and the project is flying.

Post lunch and on into the night Maria one-by-one unrolled each batik in order to make notes and as a result of holding and seeing the collection first hand, made adjustments to the grouping of the batiks for the exhibition's layout.  On the Wednesday before the lunch, an initial layout was developed by Maria at the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery.  This process was wonderful to observe.  Also discussions took place regarding the hanging support system for the batiks and the format the catalogue may take.  Nina's outstanding organisation made this day a great success.

This fine, high quality skirt cloth [kain panjang] from Lasem was produced by entrepreneurs of Chinese descent and executed by the very best batikers.  It is a late 19th/early 20th century art work.

Kain panjangs with differently coloured tumpal at each end and borders on each side were favourites in Jambi, Sumatra.  The tumpal on one end is dark, for use in the evenings and the other end is bright for use during the day.  The tumpal or head on Lasem batik is usually in the form of the Pucuk Rebung (bamboo shoot), in the form of a row of triangles filled in with several different Chinese motifs such as banji, kilin, phoenix and butterflies.  The borders (pinggir), are rich in decorative details.  These minor decorations of small fauna and flora motifs and isen add value to the batik, enhancing its price.

The deminsions of this kain panjang is 107.5 x 279.0 cm.

Apology: in my second blog I indicated the age of the kain panjang pagi sore from Pekalongan, Java, as early 20th century when it should have been 1940s.


  1. Hi there,

    We're from Indohoy. Just wanted to reply but didn't know where to email:

    Sorry, but we didn't get your name.

    What I remembered and did not put in the website was in Kuningan, there is a certain type of pattern that I've never seen before. While most know the broken machete or 'parang rusak', in Kuningan we found the Kujang rusak. It was a pattern with a lot of kujangs lined up.

    I find that very interesting, and shows that the Sundanese also a lot of pride for their traditional weapon. What I might add also is that you don't see this pattern often, but during the local event, most of the local people will wear this pattern. Something to look at ;)

  2. Good story. Anda to complate the information, please klik or .Thanks.

  3. I'm very frequent reader of your blog. I like your articles in which you share information with us.


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