A Batik Walk through Jogjakarta, Indonesia.
Writer: Emilia Tan
Photo: Choi Wai Yi & Emilia Tan
“The best and the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
After so many years dealing with the batik industry, I made my very first trip to Jogjakarta, Indonesia in January 2010, guided by Mr.Zahir, who is the Director of the Pekalongan Batik Museum.
To go to Jogjakarta is not as difficult as going to other cities in Indonesia, as there is an international airport, unlike other cities like Pekalongon.
Jogjakarta is a Batik city. Everyone on the street wears Batik, they sell Batik and they produce Batik. I was really impressed with their culture and the balance between supply and demand in their Batik market.
In Indonesia, Batik has a good name. People here are willing to support Batik, and to wear it regularly, either casually, formally or as evening wear. Besides that, I also discovered that Jogjakarta people are creative and innovative. They produce a lot of daily lifestyle items made from Batik, like pillow cases with block-printed Batik designs, wooden chairs with hand-painted Batik on the wood surface, Batik patchwork designs like table and bed runners, hand-drawn Batik wall-hanging pieces and many other articles.
There is a demand for Batik in Jogjakarta. As well as the local people, the tourists play an important role in buying Batik and taking it back to their countries. Hundreds of tourist souvenir items are made by Batik, such as key chains, pencil cases, wallets and so on. In Indonesia, Batik has an identity, compared with some other countries, where Batik has a bad name.
How to identify Indonesian Batik? It’s very simple- from the colour schemes and designs. As in Malaysia, the Batik colours are very vibrant and design-wise are very abstract, both modern and simple. Like the Chinese Yunnan province, the local designers love to paint their Batiks with indigo dye, and the designs are very lively, depicting flowers, fauna, their religion and their belief.
After walking along the street in Jogjakarta, I realised that, most of the Batik shops in the world, do not really produce their Batik products themselves, but import them from Jogjakarta.
Why do business people import their Batik products from Jogjakarta, instead of making them themselves in their own countries? There are several reasons. When running a business, we need to look at the production, labour and time cost as well as suppliers and convenience.
There are more than thousand of Batik manufacturers in Jogjakarta, and the market is very competitive. Thus, the price of production is very reasonable. Besides that, the main power supplies are adequate enough in Indonesia and the labour fees are not too high. Indonesia’s unique Batik designs, with their very fine lines and dots, and the high standard of workmanship are enough to convince business people to import Batik from Indonesia.
It is well worth your time, if you plan to make a cultural trip, to come to Jogjakarta for your holiday.
If you love and wear Batik and have never visited Jogjakarta, wait no more. Please go on-line now and book your air tickets. Do not worry about the accommodation and transport. From luxury to budget class, every option is available to you.