IBU MILLAR SUNGKAR
Rumah Batik dia-dio
Depending on the region where the batik is made, the same tiny filler motif may be used as
an isen-isen motif or as a tanahan motif. In each region the batikkers/Pengobeng (hired women who waxed the batik), consider their own version of isen-isen and tanahan motifs a condition for what is regarded a superior work.
|Ibu Millar Sungkar - Rumah Batik dia-dio, Yogyakarta
Batik Workshop - Pekalongan
Pekalongan (north coast of Java), 2010
Skirt cloth kain sarong and selendang (a shawl)
Handwoven silk, synthetic dyes; batik tulis
Photo: Mick Richards
With the emergence of batik Belanda in the 1840s isen-isen and tanahan motifs were employed to strongly enhance the main motif and the overall visual and technical sophistication of the batik cloth. This enabled the creation of not just the illusion of a colour change, but also the introduction of actual shades of colour, by intensifying or dispersing the isen-isen dots and/or lines. Also the illusion of depth and form is achieved by the use of dots that from a distance appear like fine lines. To serve this purpose, filler motifs that were once of uniform size and distribution were now dispersed at random, sometimes in sparse spacing, and others more concentrated, and they varied in size. These two filler motifs are still used extensively today.
|Examples of isen-isen motifs, their names and interpretation.
APPENDICES, page 214, Index of Principality Isen Motifs -
Batik - Spirit of Indonesia, YAYASAN BATIK INDONESIA,1999,
ISBN 979- 95801-0-2
My appreciation of isen-isen and tanahan motifs is totally encapsulated in the following cloth that speaks volumes about the utilisation of these two types of filler motifs by leading contemporary Javanese batik artist, Ibu Millar Sungkar of Rumah Batik dia - dio.
While Millar’s retail outlet is located in Yogyakarta, her batik is made at varying workshops in Pekalongan. Her work is exceptional in both its creativity and its craftsmanship. The following hand-woven silk sarung and selendang (shawl), tells the story of Yogyakarta’s famous war hero, Diponegono, a Javanese prince. He fought the Dutch colonials in the Java War of 1825-1830. It is him on the horse-back.
Appreciation: Followers who have received this Post would be amazed that it is the first since May 30, 2013, nearly six years. I now hope this is not going to repeat itself but I do feel I am more able for that not to occur. Extremely poor health has been and sadly remains, the culprit. Passion, perseverance, curiosity, and love of life has to remain at the centre of each day.
I would love to express my gratitude and thanks to two wonders of the batik world, for their support and generosity of spirit, such powerful motivators. If you are an enthusiast of Javanese batik you will certainly know the names of Maria Wronska-Friend and Rens Heringa. They have both made a significant contribution to knowledge, understanding and appreciation of batik from Indonesia via their teaching, writing, exhibition development, conference presentations and numerous other face to face interactions.