Last June, I had the chance to visit Semarang with my family on holiday. We stayed over in Semarang and took a car trip to Jogjakarta and Borobudur. I visited Semarang a number of times, but never had a chance to take a look at the batik industry there. It is often that when we speak of Batik, then we automatically refer to Solo, Pekalongan or Jogjakarta, never quite thought of Semarang as one of the Batik center. However, Rens Heringa and Harman C. Veldhuisen, in their book Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java , suggested that between 1845 and 1867, two women also developed hand-drawn batik in Semarang. They were Mrs Van Oosterom, who was of mixed Dutch-Javanese origin and was born in Salatiga, and Mrs Von Franquemont, who was of German-Dutch origin. Both lived somewhere in Ungaran Hill. Their batik was later known as Prankemon batik.
So while I was in Semarang, I didnt want to pass the opportunity to visit the Semarang batikers. One afternoon, my mother in law took me to an area in East of Semarang where there is a small village with batikers community. That afternoon I was introduced to what one calls Batik Semarangan. My mom in law showed me a couple of houses that actually run home industry in batik making. Then we stopped by to small batik house which we found thru the direction of the a local living in the area. That was where I met mba ZIE, she was busy talking to a couple of her clients in her humble home when we entered and she greeted us. I sat down and right away went through the pile of batiks that was in the table. Then my eyes stopped at this one brownish monochromatic batik sarong. I thought this batik was different in nature compared to the ones that were on the pile. This sarong has “tumpal” (or head part) that represents picture of “Tugu Semarang” (Semarang Monument) lined up vertically. Then back part of the batik sarong has gorgeous drawings of phoenix birds and flowers with a repeated Semarang monuments as border, very unique indeed. Mba Zie, the batiker told me that the sarong was done using natural dye, so she used natural coloring using plants and fruits extract. She also mentioned that Batik Semarangan is known to have theme that revolves around Flora and Fauna. Well, I guess there was no turning back, I just knew I wanted that batik sarong. So I decided to purchase it and bought a couple of other batik clothes for my mom. So what do you think of my new collection?
Top: Tumpal with “Semarang Monument”
Below: Back of Sarong with Phoenixs