Indo-European; Javanese; Indo-Chinese
Unknown artist, Indo-European; Javanese; Indo-Chinese, Java
Sarong fragment, 1910
Cotton plain-weave batik (wax-resist print)
Bequest of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich 55.482
(March 20 –July 5, 2015)
This batik was very likely produced by P. D. Tio, who created extremely fine examples in a Chinese workshop in the early 20th century. The diagonal bands along this sarong’s background are Tio’s hallmark and a traditional Javanese motif known as galaran. The lotus blossoms and abstracted fowl work with the wavy lines of the galaran to create a cool, aquatic effect. The layout of the motifs and the border are representative of the Nieuwe Kunst, or Dutch Art Nouveau style.(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’s design of water lilies, swans, cattails, and butterflies is in the Indonesian-European tradition. The layout, with the whiplash curves of the lily stems, also appears to have been influenced by the European art-nouveau style. The sarong could be wrapped to show off either the light or the dark area, depending on the mood of the wearer and the occasion for which it was worn.
The same design is used in both the kepala and the badan; the only difference between the two areas is in the use of color. Batiks like this were cheaper to produce, as the pattern drawer was paid for only one design.