Technique: Commercial cotton, natural dyes, hand-drawn (tulis) batik
The blossoms of the vine include the carnation (celuki), the quintessential north coast batik flower. The end that would be displayed when the hipcloth was worn has a dramatic border of triangles marked off from the centerfield by a panel with fruits and the mythical bird lokcan, which derives from the phoenix.
Context: The only court city on the north coast of Java, Cirebon was much more eclectic and multi-cultural than the traditional courts of central Java (Solo and Jogjakarta), embracing the mixture of cultures that grew around the commerce of the Spice Islands trade route in the 19th c. The design of this batik shows an interesting mixture of elements: The vine wandering over the cloth in a free-flowing multi-directional movement is a traditional north coast batik format called lung-lungan (creeper tendril), and its flowers evoke the scattering of blossoms in rituals. The fantastical creatures metamorphosing into or out of plant life are a very old design from the Cirebon / Indramayu area. However, their regular placement and more distinct forms show the influence of the central Javanese alas-alasan pattern. Batik with blue and white designs were a type called kelengan, worn during mourning by Peranakan Chinese, but also traditional in Java and Sumatra. The border of triangles suggests that it was made for export to the large batik market of Chinese clients in Sumatra, where this format was popular.
The hipcloth is in excellent condition, There are 2 small 1.5 cm tears at the edge of 2 different corners—apart from these there are no holes, stains, or tears. The design is in a deep blue-black shade, and the ground is beige. The cotton is very smooth, supple and soft, and fairly heavy.
Length: 250 cm. Width: 105 cm.
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