One island; one sheet of cotton; one extraordinarily complicated technique.
Hundreds of artists. A melting pot of cultures.
Few art forms have become as closely associated with a single location as the textile tradition of batik and Indonesia. Although the technique of patterning cloth through the application of wax is known in other parts of the world, in Indonesia, especially on the island of Java, this art form has
reached the highest level of complexity.
Women in Java, working with simple materials have developed remarkably diverse styles of decorating cloth. These styles are often associated with specific cities or villages, and draw inspiration from a wide range of cultures and religions. This exhibition features batik made along the north coast of Java and the central court cities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta.
The island of Java has long been a crossroads for many cultures: from the early Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms of Central Java to the later Muslim sultanates; from communities of Chinese emigrants to pockets of colonial European residents. The textiles on view are the result of the meeting of these communities and the mingling of ideas, motifs and symbols.
All of the works shown in the exhibition were selected from the collection of Joan and M. Glenn Vinson Jr.