The Kraton Batik: Yogyakarta, Central Java
When I was in Yogyakarta recently, my wife Candika and I visited the Kraton, or Sultan’s Palace, mainly out of curiosity as it had been a year since I was last there, and besides, I wanted to view the damage inflicted the horrific earthquake.
Of course you have to be escorted around the Kraton by a guide and this is obligatory. It is always important for a male to wear long trousers when visiting this scare place and this is a sign of respect, not only for the establishment, but for those who live and work there.
After a few hours of enjoying the Kraton we were nearing the end of our tour, so to speak. Our guide asked if we would like to see the batik-processing in the Kraton, a privilege seldom extended to visitors. It could have been the early time of our arrival and the Kraton that prompted this invitation or the fact that the Kraton was virtually void of visitors.
We were escorted down a small alleyway and into an open-air pavilion where several ladies sat with bolts of cloth laid out before them. Beside the ladies were the implements needed to create the magnificent patterns. As the women carefully and skilfully used a canting to wax the fine material – a process called bak tulis – we were approached by the man who actually takes care of the place where the batik is created and markets the final product.
Naturally he showed us a few cloths in the hope that we would purchase a few [which we did eventually!] and informed us that on the streets of Yogyakarta and in the markets the price is around Rp3 million. Candika was pleased to pay only Rp350,000!.
Yogyakarta produces some of the finest batik in Indonesia and if you are visiting the Kraton when you are in Yogyakarta then I urge you to buy these beautifully created pieces.