The beauty of batik

KING CHU­LA­LONGKORN’S PRE­CIOUS COL­LEC­TION OF BATIKS FROM JAVA GOES ON DIS­PLAY FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME

The Nation - - FUN PURSUITS -

AS A SIDE­LINE to its cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion “A Royal Trea­sure: The Ja­vanese Batik Col­lec­tion of King Chu­la­longkorn of Siam”, the Queen Sirikit Mu­seum of Tex­tiles is of­fer­ing a range of mer­chan­dise with the pat­terns and mo­tifs found in the Ja­vanese batiks on dis­play.

King Chu­la­longkorn’s pri­vate col­lec­tion fea­tures 307 sam­ples of Ja­vanese batik ac­quired dur­ing his vis­its to Java in 1871, 1896 and 1901. They have been stored in the Trea­sury of the In­ner Court of the Grand Palace since his death in 1910 and are be­ing pub­licly dis­played for the first time.

Con­tin­u­ing until May 2021, the ex­hibits will be shown on a ro­tat­ing ba­sis and 37 pieces are cur­rently on view.

In 1871, at the age of 18, King Chu­la­longkorn of­fi­cially vis­ited Sin­ga­pore and Java to ob­serve mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and West­ern-style gov­er­nance. This was in keep­ing with His Majesty’s goal to mod­ernise Siam as well as to es­tab­lish friend­ships with Eng­land and the Nether­lands. His first 15-day trip to Java was to ob­serve West­ern in­no­va­tions, such as the rail­way con­nect­ing Batavia (present-day Jakarta) with Se­marang in Java.

His Majesty re­turned to Java in 1896 and 1901 on un­of­fi­cial vis­its and he toured Yo­gyakarta, Su­rakarta, Cire­bon, In­dra­mayu and Garut among other cities. Batiks from Su­rakarta were typ­i­cally yellow-brown or dark blue with tiny mo­tifs, while those from Yo­gyakarta were pre­dom­i­nantly choco­late brown or a lighter blue. The royal col­lec­tion has 43 pieces from Yo­gyakarta pro­duced by the Law­ick van Pabst stu­dio, which the King vis­ited twice.

Af­ter tour­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion, visitors can head to the mu­seum shop to snap up photo frames bear­ing pat­terns pop­u­lar in the Su­rakarta court such as a sword-like mo­tif and a flo­ral pat­tern called “Sirikit” – named to hon­our Her Majesty Queen Sirikit dur­ing her state visit with His Majesty the late King Bhu­mi­bol in 1960. There are also lens clean­ing cloths fea­tur­ing the sig­na­ture pat­tern of Se­marang with geo­met­ric shapes in ver­ti­cal pan­els and pic­to­rial sub­jects as well as caps, um­brel­las, cush­ions, purses, pens, ear­rings and chok­ers in dis­tinc­tive mo­tifs.

The mu­seum is within the Grand Palace com­pound in Bangkok and open daily from 9am to 4.30pm.

For de­tails, call (02) 225 9420 or visit www.QSMTThai­land.org.

Um­brella, Bt390

Cap, Bt350

Choker, Bt690

Photo frames, Bt450-Bt650

Purse, Bt950

Lens clean­ing cloth, Bt60

Cush­ion, Bt650

Pen, Bt30

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