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Home » The City of Jambi » Jambi Calligraphic Batik

Jambi Calligraphic Batik

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  1. The City of Jambi

    Jembatan Sungai Batanghari II
  2. The City of Jambi

    Jembatan Sungai batanghari II
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Elaborately patterned with hand-painted motifs or calligraphy, these traditional fabrics, better known as Batik, have always been an inherent part of the culture and daily lives of the people of Indonesia. Traditional Indonesian Batik is divided into three main types: calligraphic batik, painted batik and printed batik, and can be found in almost every region across the archipelago, each with their own unique style and design. In October 2009, Indonesian Batik was designated under UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Compared to other provinces around Indonesia, Jambi Batik is not among the most popular, due to a very small number of Batik artisans found here and thus a fairly low production rate. Jambi Batik first came into existence around 1875 during the era of the Jambi Sultanate. At that time, batik was regarded as the fabric of royalty and was worn only by members of the Imperial Family and those of a high social level.

This artistic textile first came into use amongst the general public around 1906 when the reign of the Jambi Sultanate reached its gradual demise. The fabric was recorded in 1928 by Dutch writer, B.M. Goslings, where he spoke of the Jambi craftsmen who produced this exquisite patterned cloth. Nowadays, Jambi Batik can be worn by anyone who so desires and is often used as a uniform on certain days of the week.
Jambi Batik is usually woven from silk or cotton. The manufacturing process is fairly lengthy, as unlike many other forms of batik, Jambi batik is painted entirely by the use of cotton buds, as opposed to using any set molds or prints. When complete, the batik is laid out across the floor rather than being hung up. The entire creation process of a piece of this material can take up to 2-3 months and is therefore quite expensive, at approximately 175,000 rupiah per meter for cotton and 250,000 rupiah per meter for silk.

The original Jambi Batik usually adheres to shades of blue, black-blue, carmine and yellow and till today maintains its original manufacturing process by remaining faithful to the use of natural dyes. These dyes are created through the mixture of various types of plant materials such as sap from the Lambato plant, seeds from the Tilapia tree, wood from Buliah or Sepang, leaves from Indigo and Pandan plants and much more.

Jambi batik’s choice of colors symbolizes joy and excitement, while its motifs represent a cheerful and carefree community.Each of the motifs also depicts a certain aspect of the culture, or holds a certain philosophical meaning. For example, patterns of ships and people state that one must be careful during times of travel. The broken durian, on the other hand, represents the two important things in life: faith and science. Another typical pattern shows Jambi City with the Batanghari River flowing through and two geese flying overhead, which belonged to the first Sultan of Jambi.

Certain Jambi Batik pieces show a hint of Arab influence which can be seen in the calligraphic designs, while some of the bird patterns bear similarity to Chinese fabrics. Other commonly used patterns in Jambi Batik are Pineapples, Jasmine flowers, Glass Plates, Bamboo shoots, a Crescent Moon, Mangoes, Towering Clouds, Cicadas and Butterflies.

To acquire a piece of this intricately designed fabric, pay a visit to Kampung Olak Kemang, in DanauTeluk District, Jambi. This village is the manufacturing center of Batik in Jambi where you can also observe the process of how the textile is made. The village lies approximately 30 minutes from the Sultan Thaha International Airport in Jambi and is easily accessible by public transport or hired car. 

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Jambi Calligraphic Batik

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