Yorke Antique Textiles

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Item Details
Kedungwuni, Java, Indonesia
"A beautiful Peranakan Chinese sarong with 4 bouquets of poppies, spray carnations and lilies in a fresh, summery color composition. The violet blossoms are cool and the peach ones light in the cerise of the body; while their colors appear to deepen and the whites stand out in the aquamarine of the head panel (kepala), where starflowers enhance the sparkling effect. A multicolored butterfly and a bird hover at the top left and right of the bouquet. Each of the flowers is drawn in 2 shades of the main color creating the effect of light falling on them, and the petals are filled with lines of minute white dots in the Kedungwuni style, i.e. the dots are drawn in lines from the center to the edge (in the Pekalongan style the dots are arranged in concentric circles moving outwards). The very rich 3-dimensional effect achieved by this kind of detail—for instance the white outlines, and 2 shades in the peach leaves—was perfected by the best Chinese batik-makers in and around Pekalongan in the first half of the 20th C. The leaves are detailed with feathery motifs inside that gives them the crisp appearance of ferns (the style popularized by E. van Zuylen). The drawing is clear and fluent, creating a lively design with a great deal of movement. A garland of small flowers forms the upper and lower borders as well as the borders between the kepala and the body. The hand-drawn signature of “M. d. van Zuylen / Oey Kok Hwa” appears at the upper left corner of the kepala (see below). A vivacious and exceptionally lively batik for its unusual color composition, precise drawing, and very fine condition. Peranakan Chinese batikers in and around Pekalongan adopted and popularized the bouquet design (buketan) of cut flowers with butterflies and / or birds against a clear ground that was developed by the Indo-European batik-makers, and adapted them with different colors and more complex filler motifs. While the buketan design became to a large degree the standard of fine batik along the north coast, Chinese batik is generally considered superlative in the early 20th C period for its intense detail, rich colors, and exceptional workmanship. It generally took the form of sarongs that showed off a dramatic contrast between the body and kepala, and favored in-between color tones in outstanding and daring color combinations, as in this piece. These sarongs were imported as premium clothing for wealthy Peranakan Chinese throughout the Malay archipelago. The letters “M. d.” stand for “model dari” (modelled after), acknowledging that the design was followed the style, or perhaps even a specific pattern, of the Indo-European batik-maker, Eliza van Zuylen, whose batiks were the most expensive next to Oey to Soe Tjoen's. The maker is Oey Mho Hie (died 1965), who belonged to the most renowned Chinese batik-making family on Java (a cousin of Oey Soe Tjoen's): Oey Mho Hie was known to sign with the name of this niece who lived with the family (see van Hout, Batik: drawn in wax, Royal Tropical Institute, 2002, Appendix sheet “Oey family of Kedungwuni”). Excellent condition, with only very faint age marks (these are hardly visible, the images emphasize them more than they appear in real life), and 2 tiny 2 mm holes. The cotton is fine, smooth and cool to the touch, with a firm body and crisp texture, and the colors are bright, fresh and glowing." 43" height x 43" width (86" unstitched).
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