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Batik skirtcloth (kain panjang) with flower and butterfly design

circa 1890-1946


Eliza van Zuylen


1863 - 1947


Of all the textiles of Southeast Asia, the influence of Europe is most dramatic and direct on certain categories of batik made in Java during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period Dutch and Eurasian women, referred to as 'Indische' played an innovative role in batik production along the north coast of Java. Their influence extended from their choice of patterns and colours through to their actual entrepreneurial involvement in the establishment of batik workshops. One of the longest lasting and most famous of these ateliers was directed by Eliza van Zuylen whose workshop operated in Pekalongan from 1890-1946. With the influence of European tastes, traditional batik patterns gave way to patterns of flowers, plant motifs and birds reminiscent of Indian chintz patterns. Eliza van Zuylen's batiks were designed for the western export market as well as for the local 'Indische'. This piece with designs of floral bouquets or "buketan", birds and butterflies in various shades of blues and greys, would have been worn as a hip or waist wrapper. Blue pieces are traditionally worn during the period of mourning.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 1998.


Other Titles

Batik tulis kain panjang (skirtcloth)

Piece of skirtcloth ('kain panjang') with flower and butterfly design

Place where the work was made

Pekalongan Java Indonesia


circa 1890-1946

Media category


Materials used

cotton, dyes, batik


106.0 x 196.0 cm

Signature & date

Signed embroided "Eliza van Zuylen". Not dated.


Gift of Dr John Yu 1998


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Eliza van Zuylen

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Rens Heringa and Harmen Veldhuisen, Fabric of enchantment, Los Angeles, 1997, 126.

Robyn Maxwell, Textiles of Southeast Asia : tradition, trade and transformation, Canberra, 1990, 382ff.