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Art & Design

  • Liem Soen Tjaij (Tjay), Sarong, ca. 1910. Bequest of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich

    Indische Style: Batiks For The International Market

    Costume and Textiles

    March 20 –July 5, 2015

    Liem Soen Tjaij (Tjay), Sarong, ca. 1910. Bequest of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich

  • Lucy Truman Aldrich collected more than 30 batiks while traveling in Indonesia in the 1920s. Batiks are patterned fabrics dyed using a traditional Indonesian wax-resist technique. The bright colors and innovative designs of these six indische-style examples set them apart from the muted indigos and browns of traditional court batiks.

    Indische batiks were produced from the mid-19th century through the 1940s by female artisans who created an evolving aesthetic language by blending references from their Indonesian, Chinese, Arab, Dutch, and mixed backgrounds. The Dutch ruled Java from the early 17th century until the Indonesian Republic was formed in 1949, making European stylistic influences particularly prevalent.

    Popular with Dutch, Indo-European, and Indo-Chinese women, indische-patterned batik sarongs offered relief from the stifling corseted and layered ensembles popular in Europe. Far more appropriate for the hot, humid climate of Indonesia, the sarong was wrapped around the body and worn with the kebaya, a blouse of fine white cotton decorated with lace, as seen in this unidentified Dutch woman’s ensemble.

    Until recently, indische batiks were considered a less desirable genre by many museums and collectors, namely due to the Western design motifs and bold color palettes achieved by use of synthetic dyes. The word indische refers to Europeans, primarily Dutch or Indo-Europeans, who had lived in the East Indies for a long time. Indische batik is also sometimes referred to as beland (Indonesian for “Holland”) or fusion-style.


Selected objects from Indische Style: Batiks For The International Market