Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Peranakan Chinese Batik Sarong, Pekalongan

Indonesia, Java, Pekalongan, c. 1950
Commercial cotton and dyes, hand-drawn (tulis) batik

A Peranakan Chinese sarong hand-drawn with the quintessential Pekalongan design of a detailed flower bouquet. Executed in only two shades of blue, the main body has dark flowers on a light blue body, and the head panel reverses the dark/ light figure/ ground. The flowers are shaded with different densities of white dotted lines to create the impression of many more shades in a 3-dimensional effect for which this style of batik is renowned. Particularly noteworthy is the variation with which the bouquet is repeated four times across the piece, unlike later mechanically repeated renditions of this design. Feathery ferns and curving slender leaves give movement and lightness to the picture, as do the butterfly and bird (both the same size!) hovering above. a flower garland forms borders throughout.

Context: Batik made only in blue and white were a type called kelengan, worn during mourning by Peranakan Chinese, but also traditional in Java and Sumatra.

The piece is in very good condition, with two very light age lines, and otherwise no stains, holes tears. The blues are vibrant, fresh, and unfaded.

Length: 105 cm. Width: 96 cm (unopened).

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