Living in Indonesia has allowed us to be exposed to many unique art forms. Indonesia has a truly rich culture that is expressed in its music, art and food and the diversity of this amazing country is evident in the unique art manifestations present throughout the archipelago. An art form that is present in every province of Indonesia is Batik.
Batik is a clothe that is created using a wax dying technique and can include as many designs and colors as the creator’s imagination allows. Batik can be hand-made or block printed and is highly regarded as an artform. Indonesians tend to wear Batik on special occasions such as weddings and many times will ask to have a design custom-made for a special event.
To celebrate the uniqueness of this form of art, the Textile Museum of Jakarta opened its doors in 1976 under the auspice of the former first lady Ibu Tien Soeharto. At first glance the museum boasts intricate European architectural details that are evident throughout the site. Beautiful gardens surround the two main buildings where hundreds of textiles both new and old are displayed to the delight of the observer.
The entrance fee is very symbolic 5,000 Rp. for adults and 2,000 Rp. per child and you can get a guided tour in English if you ask for it.
The museum is extremely well-kept and all the textiles are displayed on glass cases that showcase their colors and textures. Most of the descriptions are in English and many guides are available throughout the museum to answer any question. The Batik Gallery accommodates hundreds of textiles hailing from all throughout the archipelago. Antique Batik pieces are showcased and many of them recount Indonesian history with their prints.
The main showroom includes a few batik pieces and many weaved textiles. They also have pictures displaying the different dye picking and weaving processes.
Batik Making Class
The best part of our visit was making a small batik to take home. The Museum has a workshop on the back of the site where Batik is being made on a daily basis and where tourists are able to make their own batiks.
We were given several designs to choose from although I think we could have drawn something ourselves if we hadn’t been in a big group. When I “made” batik in Yogya I made everything from drawing on the textile and putting the wax to dyeing it myself. I appreciated not having to draw the design myself because I’m just terrible at anything involving drawing.
As we waited for the wax to melt, we admired the batik designs that were in the process of being made. It’s incredible to think that every single color means a whole new waxing process. Those are some dedicated artists!
So we began clumsily making our batik. Mine had tons of drops of wax all over the place but I really enjoyed making it, it was almost like therapy. My husband was so precise in his design, I wish I had the patience and precision he does.
After we were done putting wax on the fabric we took them outside where they were treated with different dyes. We were able to choose red or blue. Apparently blue is very highly regarded due to the difficulty to obtain the indigo dye.
We really enjoyed visiting this museum and would love to visit again. I really think this is a great place to bring visitors since the batik making process is nothing but fun and it gives a little taste of Indonesian culture.
1. Don’t come on a Monday. It’s closed. I found out the hard way that all museums in Jakarta are closed on Mondays when I attempted to visit the National Museum and basically went directly back home.
2. Bring your kids. If you have kids about 7 or older they will probably really enjoy making their own batik. They can draw their own designs and after all what could be cooler than transformers batik?
3. Although there is a small cafeteria I would avoid having lunch there. Snacks and drinks are available but it’s a better bet to just come before or after lunch.
4. Bring cash. They have a small souvenir store and they prefer to be paid in cash.
Museum Tekstil Jakarta
Jl. Aipda K.S Tubun No. 2 – 4