Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery
A fine breastcloth (kemben) hand-drawn separately in Solo, Lasem, and Pekalongan to create a rich, dramatic design that blends their 3 distinct styles.
The ceremonial format juxtaposes the cream elongated diamond (tengahan) reserved in the center with a surrounding design of scattered rich and lacquer blossoms and leaves.
The intention of the genre was to combine the best of the different regional styles of batik. Tiga negeri batik was the most expensive batik of its time: whilst the entrepreneurs may have saved costs by getting the background made in central Java, where batik labor was cheaper, the coordination and transport required also multiplied costs.
As a luxury item that declared one’s status, tiga negeri batik was worn by wealthy Peranakans who wished to show their affiliations with traditional Javanese culture, and was also favored as informal private wear in the central Javanese courts.
Its cosmopolitanism had the inadvertent effect of making the batik styles of one region familiar in another, leading to the greater sharing of motifs. The format of this breastcloth with a central reserved section is one of the oldest types of ceremonial ritual court batik;
Kemben with their distinctive central plain coloured lozenge are worn by dancers and women of the Sultan’s court as garments which cover the top half of the body.
Estimated to be from the 1940-1950s
Has a few tiny holes and stains
This item has spent a lifetime being used for the purpose of its creation with the original artist/user. Signs of this life lived heartily may be present on the piece in the form of stains, thread loss, loose threads, holes, tears, color run and other imperfections. Therefore the condition must be assumed to be “not” perfect. More photos of such imperfections will be provided on request.