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Slide 1

Batik Kraton (left) and Batik Pesisir (right)

Generally speaking there are two main categories of batik in Indonesia: batik kraton and batik pesisir. The kraton batik is rooted in the traditional culture around the Kratons (Sultans palaces) of Jogjakarta and Solo and reflects the traditions and powers inherent in these cultural centers.



Slide 2

Abatik artisan from the Sekar Kencono cooperative in Lasam

Batik kraton. While pesisir batik is not as constrained in terms of design. Batik artists who work in this style may use traditional designs but they include motifs that reflect aspects of their community’s origins, which may be Arab, Chinese, Japanese and European.

Slide 3

Carefully waxing a Lasam batik

Among all batiks, I feel that Lasem batiks have a particularly unique expression. It is said that the original Lasem batik designs were introduced by Laksamana Cheng Ho from China. Thereafter, Lasem batik work has been strongly dominated by Chinese descendants and design. At its height, it was considered the best in Southeast Asia.

Slide 4

Sigit Wicaksono

Eighty-0six year old Pak Sigit Wicaksono is Chinese Indonesian who creates high quality textiles which combine pesisir style with the more traditional kraton elements. This style has come to be called Bagaan, the name of Pak Sigit’s village.

Slide 5

The Sekar Kencono batik studio

Pak Sigit works with a group of artisans called the Sekar Kencono cooperative that produces a small number of high quality batiks each year. Sigit is not interested in the mass market as sells his work as art.

Slide 6

Chinese characters expressing Confucian idioms

During the rule of Indonesia Suharto (1965–1998), Chinese Indonesians were not allowed to express their ethnic origins in the form of speech, writing, religion, or art. For years Sigit was oppressed and often had his work confiscated. Today Pak Sigit proudly continues the artform of Bagaan and has even incornporated Chinese characters in his designs that spell out sayings by Confucius related to leading a good life in service of others.

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