Sunday, September 6, 2015

Jakarta Textile Museum

I have always curious with the National Textile Museum and had been planning a visit since last year. Finally, I had the chance last month!

I was quite surprised to see how big the museum is. It is composed of two main exhibition buildings, a workshop in the backyard pendopo (or Javanese style house), a natural dye garden and two shops. 

The museum building itself has a long history. It was built by a Frenchmen in the 19th century, sold to a Turkish consul, bought by Vermeulen (Dr Karel Christian Crucq), became a base for Pioneer Youth Front and Civil Defence Force during independence era (hence listed as historical monument), was last owned by Lie Sion Pin which operated a nursing house before handed over to Jakarta District Government.

Entering the first building, I was awed by the collection quality—rare batik tulis, tenun and ikat textiles from all over Indonesia. The main attraction was a large textile made of tree bark and printed with natural dye from Lembah Bada, Central Sulawesi. This reminds me of Fijian textiles, which they still wear for traditional ceremonies or events. Another highlight was a joint-work of Australian aboriginal design and batik technique, which named Yirrkala Aboriginal – Pekalongan Batik. This is essentially a manifesto of both countries friendship on a piece of textile.

Unfortunately, the collection was poorly curated and preserved. The precious tre-bark textile was only “secured” with stand barrier. When a group of parents and kids with a guide approached the tree-bark textiles, the kids was touching the textiles until the guide reprimanded them and not long after the parents started to touch them too!

The second exhibition building has Turkish-influenced architecture. This one shows better-curated exhibition with better explanation for each exhibited textile. In the backyard, you would find a rather spacey natural dye garden. There was a wedding reception preparation that day so I didn't really have enough room to actually explore and spot all of the natural dye plants.

The most exciting spot was the workshop pendopo! They hold batik classes for kids and adults. There were few workshop participants that day learning how to make batik. They also have a natural dye class for those who are interested.

In the nutshell, the textile museum is not another boring museum; it’s a family-friendly spot with enough space to explore and exciting workshops for everyone.

Part photo credit goes to @andi_mwb


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