106.0 x 198.0cm
In the nineteenth century, batik production became commercialised, particularly on the North Coast of Java. A number of workshops and factories sprang up, including one established by Eliza van Zuylen in the town of Pekalongan, an important batik centre. In operation from 1890 to 1946, van Zuylen's workshop became famous for its high-quality batiks.
North Coast batiks differ from the conservative Central Javanese ones in the use of bright colours and experimental designs. Many North Coast batiks include imagery reflecting the multi-cultural communities in the region. Chinese decorative ideas appear in bird and flower motifs, border patterns, animals, and mountains, as well as pink, yellow and blue hues. Islamic ideas added geometric patterns based on Indian trade textiles designs. Muslims favour the colour green which is considered to be sacred. European floral bouquets with birds, butterflies, and bees, and images taken from fairy tales, the colonial lifestyle, soldiers and military equipment also were popular. In this textile, we can see flower bouquets combined with birds and insects. The dark blue end section is called the kepala and the cloth was worn so that this section showed at the front.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, May 2011