"A wonderful Peranakan Chinese batik sarong hand-drawn with a magical design
and breathtaking workmanship. Great azure blue and true red carnation blossoms
present a luxurious richness of primary colors, with restrained detailing that
enhances their elegance of line and movement. These large flowers form a dramatic
contrast with the minute detailing of the caramel colored backgrounds—the
Chinese banji (inverted swastika, each 5 mm square) in the body and coiled
leafy tendrils in the head panel (kepala)—creating a sense of scale and depth
of field. The ochre blossoms offer an interesting suggestion of shadow, and
are neatly replaced by white ones in the kepala, which give an impression of light.
The 3-dimensional effect developed by Chinese batik-makers to a fine art
is seen in the different vertical halves of the long, thin, graceful
leaf blades that contribute much delicacy to the design. The red leaves are
in 2 different shades of deep and pale red, and the greens are particularly
beautiful, one half with yellow feathery detail on dark green, and the other
not green at all but alternately brown and white on blue—the overall effect
is remarkably sparkling, and the leaves also change when they twist over.
Small multicolored butterflies with bright solid segments, also finely detailed
are scattered throughout, and show a great variety of angles and form.
Of special note are the exceptionally pretty garlands forming the borders,
that bridge the large flowers and tiny backgrounds with a miniaturized
version of the main flowers and leaves, and even incorporate half of a
5th bouquet into the right side of the head panel. A round ink chop at
bottom left on the body side has the name "Tan Ping Hian Batik” together
with an injunction in Indonesian not to copy this pattern.
This sarong is in excellent condition, with only a small tear along the upper edge,
and 2 very faint shadows, to the right of the head panel and on the left of the
body—these are barely visible at all. The colors are very rich and intensely
saturated, and the pastel caramel is soft but with depth. The cotton is fine,
of a prized heavier weight, smooth and cool to the touch, with a firm body
and slightly crisp texture." 41" height x 40" wide (80" unstitched).