Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
There’s always something left from a trip. And from my Pekalongan trip, I don’t think I have told you enough about the details I gathered from the Batik Museum. Here I’m sharing you some that I managed to take notes. And because we’re not allowed to take photos in the museum, I’m using photos from outside of the museum. Here we go!
* Original batik from Pekalongan is called “jlamprang”. Its special features: geometric and symmetrical patterns. One of the most used motifs is the Cardinal direction, which to me, looks quite a lot like snowflakes. The signature color of Pekalongan batik is indigo blue, made from the indigo plant.
* The museum keeps a lot of batik kinds, not only the ones from Pekalongan. For instance, there’s also this famous kind from Lasem, Central Java, with the signature color of red (like the red of chicken blood, as they’d use the preference), made from kecubung plant (plant with large trumpet-shaped flowers).
* Another kind of famous batik is the one from Solo or Surakarta, called ‘sogan’. Guess what! It’s got the name from the soga plant that it’s made of! *gasp! * Coincidence? I think not!
* Batik 3 Negeri (3-nation batik) consists of 3 dominant colors, each is dyed in Lasem (red), Solo (brown), and Pekalongan (indigo). That certain 1 piece of cloth was carried (no FedEx back then!) from town to town, and the whole process took about 6 months long. No idea in what era this exactly happened though, but I’m guessing quite many centuries ago.
* With all the foreigners coming in Java for trading purpose, it’s only logical that these Javanese batiks later on got some influences by the Arabs, Chinese, even Europeans. Arabic influenced batik usually contains if not all about calligraphy. No human or animal pattern is allowed except the ones without heads, or heads and bodies separated. The ones influenced by Europeans are usually of blue and white colors, with fairy tales depicted in the drawing, like the Little Red Riding Hood, or the stories from the Holy Bible.
* There’s a display room dedicated for the collection of batiks from almost every province of Indonesia. Bengkulu, Jambi, South Sumatra, Lampung, Jakarta (Bin House, Iwan Tirta), Kalimantan, Papua, Madura, etc. Still not allowed to take photos there. Shucks. Some of the provinces’ batik patterns resemble the typical character of the local people. I.e:. Madura batik with bright colors, very expressive. Solo batik in brown, earthy and calm.
* You can sign up for a workshop as a part of the museum’s programs, but it’s only open on weekdays. I think you can choose between hand-drawn batik (batik tulis) or the print batik (batik cap).
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