Arts and Crafts:
Yogyakarta produces Batik products for both the Jakarta and Bali
markets and as such you are in essence at the source. Batik is certainly
the premiere product on offer. The shops along Jl. Malioboro are
numerous and the street vendors line the sidewalks with racks upon
racks of beautiful Batik shirts, pants, hats, table settings, coasters
Compared to Jakarta (and even Bali) shopping in Yogyakarta is a
bargain before you actually begin to... well, bargain. FYI, it is
always a buyers market so do not hesitate to bargain (especially
with the sidewalk vendors).
Batik is synonymous with Indonesia and Central Java (Yogyakarta
and Solo in particular) is center of Batik production in Indonesia.
A brief overview for the uninitiated: Batik is the process of applying
wax to cloth (cotton or silk) and then dying the cloth. Once dyed,
the wax is removed by soaking in hot water and the pattern where
the wax once was is then visible. This process can be repeated several
times depending upon the intricacy of the design and colours. (FYI,
there are many different styles of Batik and Batik from Yogya is
generally more traditional in colour and design, while Batik from
Solo is more colourful).
In days gone by the process of applying wax was done either with
a metal stamp (Batik Cap) or
by hand (Batik Tulis) with
a tool resembling a smokers pipe. Nowadays this process is mainly
done for promotional purposes at Batik shops and factories. For
the most part Batik is now manufactured by large factories using
automated equipment (that however does not make it any less beautiful
- in fact with automation the number and intricacy of designs and
colours as well as products available is greater than ever).
Mirota Batik on Jl A. Yani (an extension of Jl. Malioboro) is recommended
as an excellent one stop shopping venue. It has an outstanding variety
of products at very good prices and is conveniently located. Mirota
features a large selection of souvenir items, Topeng
(masks), Wayang Golek or
Wayang Kulit, (see the following) knick knacks and so on.
Of course its specialty is Batik in all the many patterns and forms.
There are shirts, sarongs, place mats, tablecloths, coasters, dresses,
etc. Clothing comes in men’s, women’s, children’s and even infant
sizes. You can even pick out a favorite Batik pattern, be measured
and have a shirt or dress or jacket made to order - usually within
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Wayang Golek (wooden puppets)
and Wayang Kulit (puppets made
from processed cow hide) are to be found in abundance in Yogyakarta.
These make unique, memorable, colourful and easily transportable souvenirs.
Many are mass produced for the tourist trade. However, older puppets
(20 to 50 years old) can be found in some of the antique shops.
Whilst there are some genuine antiques to be had, far more common
are replicas or “aged products” which are actually new products made
to look old. If you are seeking the “genuine antiques” you should
come prepared with the ability to distinguish real from fake and a
fair amount of cash. The two streets which contain most of the antique
shops are: Jl. Tirtodipuran and Jl. Prawirotaman.
A mere 7 km. off Jl. Malioboro is Kota Gede also known as Silver City.
This suburb was once the capital of the Mataram Islam Empire however
there is nothing there today that gives any hint of its former glory.
The majority of the silver factory shops are located on Jl. Kemasan.
Impressive billboards encourage you to view their production area
with artisans and craftsmen working their magic with silver. You may
even get a free professional polish for your personal jewelry! Most
of the shops are open from 8 AM to 8 PM and all sell similar products
(earrings, necklaces, bracelets, knick knacks of filigree silver etc.).
Prices can vary considerably from shop to shop. Despite the common
practice of giving “special discounts” and you are encouraged to bargain.
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