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Indonesia Tourist Destinations. Information about travel destinations, islands and culture festival.

Batik art in Indonesia

Batik textile
Batik textile patern
Art forms in Indonesia are not only based on folklore. Many are developed in the courts of former kingdoms and in Bali art forms a part of religious ceremonies. The famous dance dramas of Java and Bali are derived from the Hindu mythology and often feature fragments from the Ramajana and Mahabharata Hindu epics. Highly stylised in movement and costume, dances and dramas are accompanied by full "gamelan" orchestras comprising xylophones, drums, gongs, and in some cases string instruments and flutes. The "gamelan" is also played as the background music at the puppet theatre, "Wayang Kulit" and "Wayang Golek", traditional ceremonies and on festive occasions.
batik painting
Batik Painting

The puppets of the Wayang Kulit shadow play are made of intricately carved and colorful painted leather. The Wayang Golek theatre, however, uses colorfully dressed wooden puppets. The puppets are manipulated by a puppeteer, the "dalang" who narrates the epic and sings, using a different voice for each character in the show which normally lasts all night. Dances differ from region to region and so do the musical instruments. The tinkling sounds of the bamboo angklung of West Java and the kolintang of North Sulawesi are well-known. 

The Bataks of North Sumatra and the Ambonese of Maluku are best known for their singing abilities, accompanied mainly by guitars. With regard to painting, both that of oil and water paint, there are schools for this art in Bali, Yogyakarta and Bandung in the form of Fine Arts Academy. Batik is a specific art of painting and one of the oldest traditional arts of Java. The making of a handdrawn Batik often takes months to finish. It has a long process of drawing on cloth, waxing and dyeing.
batik maker
Batik maker
Traditional centers of batik industries are Yogyakarta, Pekalongan and Solo in Central Java, Cirebon and Tasikmalaya in West Java, and Madura Island. Indonesia's woodcarvings can be very dainty, delicate, modem and stylish like those made in Java and Bali, but also primitive, sturdy and mighty like those from Kalimantan, Irian Jaya and Nias Island. Carvings range from small statues of human beings, fauna and flora to panels and furniture for interior decoration. Weaving and tapestry are found all over Indonesia, with motifs and the colours characteristic to each region. The potter's craft is known throughout the Indonesian archipelago and originates from the daily needs of the people. It is therefore not surprising that all sorts of imaginable objects are found in earthenware in market places all over the country with designs differing from one locality to another. A highly developed art is the silverwork produced in Yogyakarta and Bali, the fine filigree silver of Southeast Sulawesi and to a lesser degree the works of West Sumatra. Plait-work of bamboo, which grows in abundance in the archipelago, is turned into baskets and other household articles as well as decoration ornaments. Bamboo sterns are cut, soaked in water, and sliced into thin strips and woven into the desired article. Pandanus leaves are also dried and plaited into baskets and mats. When the great Majapahit Hindu Kingdom ruled the Indonesian Archi-pelago (and parts of what is now Malaysia) from East Java, its "national" weapon was the "kris" or dagger, often jewelbedecked with an either straight or curved blade. The Majapahit "kris" (dagger) is the oldest known type of "kris" in Indonesia. Indonesia is proud of its diversity of cultures which are derived from age old traditions and until the present day is the moving force in community life. It covers all aspects of the life cycle, from the cradle to the grave. Whilst unity has been a result of history, differing cultures are based on the many different ethnic groups throughout the country who have maintained their traditions, languages and dialects. Protected by "adat" or customary law which differs from area to area, modernization is only a superficial veneer covering the daily life even in the cities. Ultimately, "adat" is the man's tie to his family and to his community and is applied to his way of life. 

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