Traditional textiles and batik workshop
Published/Last edited or updated: 3rd July, 2018
Indonesia has rich and varied traditions of textile production, and Jakarta’s Textile Museum is an excellent opportunity to see not only a range of techniques and learn how these skilful works are produced but also to have a go at creating your own batik—textile lovers will be in their element.
The museum occupies a historic 19th century colonial villa which holds temporary textile exhibitions and within the complex other buildings house a permanent batik collection, a display of traditional equipment used in making various textiles, a research library, gift shop and workshop as well as gardens of fibre-producing plants and various plants used in making dyes including indigo.
The main building enjoys good natural light and the original patterned tiles seem to highlight the patterns on the cloth displayed. Although the temporary exhibition we saw offered beautiful examples of textile art and was well displayed, none of the detailed information were in English including a video presentation without subtitles. This is such a pity as it is a missed opportunity for Indonesia to share this rich culture, and it seemed a lot of effort had gone into the research for the exhibition.
The adjacent building is home to the Batik Galley with a large permanent collection of extremely fine work from all over Indonesia displayed in glass cabinets. The pieces are labelled, but the English is a bit hit-and-miss although once you’ve read a few, you can work out the information as the only details offered are the origin, style, technique, material, type of dye (natural or chemical) and date if known. Unfortunately unless you already know about batik and the designs, you won’t learn much other than having the opportunity to admire the beautiful skilled work, again missed potential to educate visitors.
Continuing through the complex, behind the temporary exhibition building, a small dusty gallery displays weaving looms used throughout Indonesia, we didn’t realise that there is such a variety and it really brings home what skill is involved in producing a piece of handwoven cloth.
Finally to the rear of the Batik Gallery, is the Pendopo Batik, a traditional wooden building where you can learn to make a piece of batik in the workshop—a fun couple of hours for the craft inclined or to entertain the kids and a good opportunity for some local interaction. The batik “course” costs 75,000 rupiah for foreigners and 40,000 rupiah for locals (although the foreign tourist we spoke to was only charged 40,000 rupiah). This includes a small piece of cloth and other materials as well as someone to guide you in making your own take-home masterpiece.
If you wish to make a larger piece, the cost is slightly higher but the price remains the same no matter how long you take. The lady we met had been coming back for several days to complete her complex work—reports are that it’s not as easy as it looks, and you will certainly appreciate the high cost of the traditional sarongs you may see on sale in your travels. To join a workshop, enquire at the museum (we were informed there is no need to prebook, but we would call ahead to confirm if you are keen to avoid a wasted trip).
Note that there seem to be two gift shops in the museum or at least two separate areas and the one inside the Batik Gallery only displayed mass-produced printed batik—if you are interested in purchasing quality examples, head to the better stocked gift shop at the back of the museum.
Museum Tekstil Jakarta is tucked away to the west of Central Jakarta a 600 metre walk from Tanah Abang Station. If you are planning on taking a taxi, be warned traffic can be terrible in this area and a motorbike taxi is a better bet.
Address: 2–4 Jalan Aipda KS Tubun, Jakarta
T: (0215) 606 613; F: (0215) 654 401;
Coordinates (for GPS): 106º48'35.62" E, 6º11'18.67" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 5,000 rupiah
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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