Unknown artist, Indonesian, Java; Lasem; Surakarta
Sarong, ca. 1910
Cotton; batik, tiga negeri style
Bequest of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich 55.477
(March 20 –July 5, 2015)(June 26 –December 6, 2009)
Batik has earned its place as Indonesia’s national cloth. Initially the sole domain of women in a private domestic setting, batik design and production changed rapidly in the 19th century, as it transformed into a commercially viable product with the advent of European demand and efficient production methods such as stamping versus hand drawing. Commercial batik dyeing developed first in the large port cities of Jakarta, Semarang, and Surabaya. In 1850 Pekalongan became an important batik center, where Peranakan, Indo-Arabian, and within a decade Indo-European women all established active batik businesses. Each of these Javanese cities’ textiles displays distinctive styles and colors that have evolved over the 19th and 20th century in response to global influence. The Indo-European sarong fragment here, for example, illustrates the taste for western, Art Nouveau subjects.(June 15 –October 7, 2001)
This sarong is an example of tiga negeri, a type of batik in which the work was divided among three towns, each applying the patterns and colors for which it was best known. The work in this piece probably began on the North Coast in Lasem, where the large designs of the floral stems and birds of paradise and the floral borders were done in the famous Lasem red. The blue details were added in Kudus, while the final reddishbrown soga dye and the traditional tendril pattern of the ground were done in Central Java, possibly Surakarta.