October 22, 2019

Friends & Batiks

Display of Batik from Pekalongan at Museum Danar Hadi 
{all photos taken by me with permission by Museum Danar Hadi}
Barbara and me at Duta Garden Hotel

On Monday 14 October I took the train to Solo. There I would meet my friend WienWien, who last time invited me to join her onMadura. I had no time to go there, so I felt so lucky she accompanied me in Solo. Unfortunately she was ill on arrival and I was not fit the next day. Being sick in a hotelroom with WienWien is actually great. We talked and talked like we were just talking last week. I love to have these friends that make me feel at home away from home. They give me good advice, are there for me & all my questions and make my journey so wonderful.
We of course not just went to Solo to be sick, I was allowed to research the Danar Hadi Museum collection for my researchproject. As a first step I was allowed to take photos. You normally aren’t allowed to take pictures and they have a very strict policy. It was like a dream come true. My first visit to the Danar Hadi Museum was in 2009 and it was my first encounter with so called ‘Batik Belanda’. Staring at a Batik with Little Red Riding Hood on it, I could only ask “How?”. I remember the guide laughing and saying: “Of course you like this Batik, it is Dutch Batik”. This moment planted a seed in my mind that keeps giving me fruits today!
Through many contacts I somehow manage to get in touch with Miss Asti Suryo Astuti, the Assistant Manager of the Danar Hadi Museum. She explained me the process and after sharing my project-proposal I was excepted to do research.

Miss Asti guiding us through the houses
Pendhapa’ in original state as when built
The house of Danar Hadi
First Danar Hadi’s logo included Mr. Santono’s wife wearing sunglasses; All kind of goals & coolness going on here!

Asti met me and WienWien in the hotel. After a coffee, she walked us to the museum. Walking into what looked like a back-alley was in fact an alternative entrance to the house of Danar Hadi, which is next to the museum. Me and WienWien were just overwhelmed with the splendor displayed; beautiful buildings attached to each other by verandas and gardens, everywhere amazing furniture, sculptures, Art on the walls and family photos, and all very old! A monument kept in pristine condition.
Asti gave explanations for every room and gave us time to photograph every inch. After the many rooms, many more rooms with Batik were waiting for us.
While filling in a form that allowed me to take pictures, Miss Asti gave me a book. Me thinking she just wanted to show it to me, said to her: “Oh I actually would like to buy this book”. Which gave me her shocked reply in return: “You can not, this is a gift from Mr. Santoso, he can not meet you, but would like to thank you for your interest in his collection”. Oh wauw! The book is 50 years of Danar Hadi history, full amazing photos and their story in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Can wait to read it!
After signing the form, I got a badge and we were welcomed by Mas Gigih, our guide. In really nice English he gave us a tour, he soon noticed he could skip the beginners tour. He shared nice anecdotes about certain pieces and which pieces Mr. Santoso liked & why. Of course Mr. Santoso likes all his Batiks, but he has 10.000 pieces and chooses a certain selection every couple of years to be displayed. Either to inspire people to have a wider view on what is Batik or to share old next to newer pieces to show that high quality can still be found today in Batik.
I was taking many many photos and in between WienWien asked many more Batik questions to our guide Gigih. So happy she enjoyed it so much, not all will have the patience to wait while I look at every Batik and take hundreds of photos.
In 2009 ‘Batik Belanda’ was just a small sign with a few Batiks, now it is an entire room. The display is beautiful, Batiks hanging over wooden frames surrounded by fitting ornaments. The only problem is that you can only see a small part of the Batiks and non of the signatures. In the room are also Batiks attributed to Von Franquemont and Oosterom. One matches one that I saw of the Wereldmuseum collection. Miss Asti explained later during lunch that two collection of Indo-European Batiks had descriptions for every Batik in English, but got mixed up because the English was miss-understood in the beginning of starting up the museum. I hope to request better photos of some pieces in the near future because there are some really interesting ones in his collection. A perfect collection to include in my researchproject and feeling blessed with seeing all these beauties.

Me & WienWien
Our guide Gigih
Where it all began...at Museum Danar Hadi 
{all photos taken by me with permission by Museum Danar Hadi}
Overview at Museum Danar Hadi

After 3 rooms, 3 more rooms (I think) were filled with Batik. Such a big collection and so much variety. From the ‘Vorstenlanden’ to the North-coast, from the big cities and big names, to the smaller regions. Of Rifa’iyah Batik , the batikmakers community in Batang, were many pieces on display - even one very similar to the one I bought for my brother when he got engaged.
I saw so much interesting motifs, patterns, names and locations. I need some time to examine this when I am back home and find a copy of the Danar Hadi collection book ‘The Glory of Batik’. 

A room just for ‘Batik Souvenirs’, gifts to Danar Hadi
Development of Danar Hadi Overview at Museum Danar Hadi 
Overview at Museum Danar Hadi
All photos taken by me with permission by Museum Danar Hadi

After the tour, Miss Asti invited us for lunch. The restaurant at Danar Hadi is called ‘Soga, A Batik Journey Through Dinning’. Every dish is called after a Batik motif. I choose the ‘Gado Gado Semen Sinom’. It was served deconstructed, the carrots were rolled into the cabbage and the sauce served separate. Soooo nice, but my stomach was to upset to eat it all.
After the lunch we exit through the giftshop. I found such a cool Batik Cap blouse for Koen. Many things by Danar Hadi are actually printed nowadays. I wonder how many visitors know this and can see what is printed, made by Cap or Tulis. In the museum every day 5 batikmakers of the many employees Danar Hadi has, make Batik in the museum. Me. Santoso finds it important to share this part of Batik, but I wonder if this is enough for people to totally understand it. I visited these makers in the museum also. I was wearing my canting earrings and the makers actually stopped to admire them. They liked it so much. Cantik, Canting, cantik! I was happy it was very clear I was a big fan of their work!

One of the 5 Batikmakers sharing the Art of Batik to visitors of the museum
Me and Miss Asti, thank you so much for this warm welcome, I hope we can share many more ideas and thoughts on Batik in the near future

Spending the rest of the day in the bed, sorry WienWien for being so boring, the next day we already had to say goodbye. Feeling a lot better in the morning, I said “Till next time” to my friend and felt lucky to be meeting another friend in Yogyakarta. My dear sister, muse and BFF Barbara! For one night only we met around the corner of the street we spend one week together in 2009. The birth of our friendship was here and to have a reunion there was the best gift ever. Barbara had chooses this gorgeous hotel with an amazing garden. We walked around and got lost, just to go to a place we eat before. We eat fries and falafel and drank a bright red Kraton tea. Surprisingly strong stuff, we both felt dizzy and laughed about how silly it was to feel so strange from a tea. Walking back to our room we entered some shops & bought bottles of drinks and bags of coffees as if we had many hours to spend. We stayed up talking until our eyes couldn’t stay open. The next morning we talk some more, actually all the way till the airport. Hanif and Abe who I drove to Lasem with, gave Barbara a lift to the airport. Happy to share every extra minute. Oh I going to miss you so much! One night was to short, yet such a big gift! Dankjewel lieve schat! Ik zie u graag en ik zie jou gauw!

Next post will be on my return to Lasem!

Barbara and me, photoshoot at Duta Garden Hotel

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