July 19, 2018

Wastra, the Enchanting Textiles of Indonesia

Conservation of the Indonesian Heritage

By Roy Lie A Tjam.

Indonesia and batik are inextricably linked. The latter is an integral part of the Indonesian culture. Although just a name, batik evokes deep emotions.

Introduced by  Nila Patty and Puji Siragar, the Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Ibnu Wahyutomo bid the guests, among whom were many ambassadors; a warm welcome. Unfortunately, the first scheduled guest speaker (chairperson of the Indonesian Heritage Trust) ended up calling her trip to The Hague off. Dr. Sandra Niessen (Anthropology) however, delivered an introduction to the Indonesian culture.

To see awesome Hester Dijkstra’s pictures please open the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121611753@N07/albums/72157686858068856

The days’ events, hosted at the Nusantara Auditorium of the embassy and the Grote Kerk on 24 and 25 July in The Hague, included a workshop, a seminar, an expo, and a fashion show.

Various batik accessories, trinkets, shirts, caps, bags were put on display throughout these events. The day was made possible by the Embassy of Indonesia’s Education and Culture Department and was supported by the Indonesian Heritage Trust and Rumah Budaya.

People of the Indonesian diaspora, the Dutch, and Indonesians living in the Netherlands turned out in their numbers to attend the events.


Two Indonesian luminaries who are well-versed in Indonesian culture, gave in-depth presentations and demonstrations of wastra (commonly known as batik) These are Professor I Wayan Dibia (Bali) and Professor Laretna Adishaki (Yogja).

The traditional Indonesian batik is a technique of manual wax dyeing, making use of Indigofera tinctoria. There is still a wrangling over the etymology of the word batik. Some say it refers to( tika) a flower while others have a completely different explanation.


There are two Indonesian textiles: natural indigo batik of Yogjakarta and Kain Bali. The Regency of Gianyar, Mr. Anak Agung Gde Agung Bharata, is a fervent advocate of the Bali culture.

In Bali, there is a phenomenon of school children regularly dressing up in traditional grabs. The 17th International Conference of National Trusts is scheduled to take place in Gianyar, Bali, from 11 to 15 September 2017.

The experts mentioned above emphasized that batik is one of the Indonesian cultural heritages fully recognized by UNESCO and that the World Craft Council (WCC) has designated Yogja as a world batik city. The experts further recounted the design process, the types, and the history of batik.

The parang barmi design is made exclusively for royals. Parang ceploc is a mix of motives and parang kawang. On the island of Bali, textile colors are red, black, and white. Black and white stand for duality and red refers to the red hibiscus, Gianyar’s icon.


A dazzling fashion show at the Grote Kerk in downtown The Hague, concluded the two-day textile event in The Hague. Designers from all over Indonesia such as Mayasari Sekarlaranti, Goet Puspa and Pande Putu Wijana, stole the heart of the audience.

The two days of the Indonesian woven fabrics and natural indigo batik promotion will undoubtedly be classified as a 2017 highlight.

Comments are closed.