Straits Chinese / Peranakan Chinese / Chinese-Javenese / Dutch-Javanese / Indo-Dutch / Dutch East Indies
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About Blue Ginger

We are collectors of various vintage and antique collectibles. Here, we share with you our love for old "Batik Tulis", mainly Dutch-Javenese (Indo-Dutch) and Chinese-Javenese ("Peranakan Chinese") Batik Tulis from the early 20th century, when Java was part of what was then known as the Dutch East Indies. A recent exploration of our family heritage brought with it the discovery of some ties to famed Pekalongan (a city in Java) Batik makers of old, most of whom have passed, and those who remain are the last of their generation, in a craft that has been under appreciated for far too long, and an industry severely compromised by the demands of modern commerce. Our desire to share a piece of the art history of the Peranakan Chinese of the Dutch East Indies, is what have brought us here. These pieces of artifacts are disappearing very quickly through the ravages of time, human greed and ignorance.

We also call New Zealand home and have Maori art collectibles and Victorian and Edwardian silver jewelry in our collection. From time to time, we have other kinds of vintage and antique traditional hand weaved and hand made cloths and other art historical artifacts from a variety of places. Please do check our store regularly for other interesting collectibles!

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Our Mission and Our Batik

We hope to spread the word about, and the joy of, the beauty of the art of Batik Tulis, and its fascinating history of a coming together of various cultures - Arabian, European, Indian, Javanese, Chinese - a reflection of the true spirit of multiculturalism which seems to have been ahead of its time, a forgotten virtue which we can be reminded of regularly in our supposedly modern times. While we look back into the glory days of these antique, old, and vintage Indo-Dutch and Peranakan Chinese Batik Tulis, we hope to ignite and reignite the passion of old and new "converts", so that we might perhaps be able to contribute to a hope for a sustained revival of their wonders for future generations to come.

All of our ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE BATIK TULIS are *UNIQUE*, and are often RARE. Not only were they hand made, making it impossible for one piece to look exactly like another, a lot of them are also remnants of an age gone by. Those which are made prior to the start of World War II, a period known in the West as the "Gilded Age", are especially rare. What you will have in your hands will be the only one of its kind in living history. As no two Batik Tulis can ever be alike.

The making of high quality BATIK TULIS is very time consuming and labour intensive. Cotton cloths are often dipped in peanut oil for a week, and then "beaten" afterwards, to maximize the cloth's ability to absorbed dyes. Natural dye are usually found in blues, reds and browns. But chemical and synthetic dyes are known to originate from as early as the late 1800s especially in the brightly coloured Indo-Dutch and Peranakan Chinese Batik Tulis from Pekalongan.

All of our Batik are purchased at fair prices directly from Java, from first and second hand dealers to craftsmen and women who used to or are still working within the Batik houses, families whose Batiks were part of family heirlooms (they were commonly gifted as part of one's dowry), and descendants of the batik makers themselves, descendants of batik owners and wearers, and collectors.

NEWLY MADE BATIK

All of our Batik are genuine vintage and genuine tulis. If they are not they will be placed under a separate category in our store ("Newly Made Batik").

COMBINATION BATIK

Not all older Batik are fully Tulis. We collect mainly fully Tulis. But we do have "Combination", which are both HAND STAMPED AND HAND DRAWN, both old and new. NOTE: hand stamping is NOT machine printing

REPRODUCTION OF ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE BATIK TULIS

Many older Batik crafts people eventually retire from their profession, while younger members of the family often chose to pursue other means of living due to modern economic pressures. And those who chose to remain, are often forced to resort to cheap printings and bulk productions of Batiks to survive, severely compromising the standard of the craft. We seek to contribute to the rejuvenation of the art of Batik Tulis in its highest degree by supporting the reproduction and production superior quality older Batik Tulis. For this we have the "Reproduction" section in our store.

RESCUE

It is unfortunate and fortunate at the same time that many of masterpieces which survived the rage of time have left Indonesia, as they are auctioned, sold and collected all over the world, especially Singapore, Malaysia and Europe. The continuing "flights" of Old Batik Tulis overseas, may or may not have contributed to the increase in prices of Old Batik Tulis of recent years in Indonesia. Which is encouraging, if this signals an increase in appreciation of historical Batik Tulis.

Unfortunately, although that may be true in many cases, under the guise of keeping national heritage in the hands of "the people", a capitalization of this sentiment took shape in the most destructive of forms: converting these art-historical pieces into luxury style handbags and shoes, which prestige of ownership came not only from the knowledge of their price tags but most importantly, the rarity of the Old Batik they are made of. The ownership of a culture sadly does not always come with a sense of custodianship. In which case, having these precious pieces in the hands of collectors all over the world is one way of "rescuing" them

However, our RESCUE ITEMS here referred specifically to items we purchased because we have strong reasons to believe that they were in danger of mutilation. These items are not only in danger of destruction, but we believed that their potential artistic and "collection" values have been undermined significantly by the need to turn out larger and larger profits and are too eagerly and readily declared as "damaged goods" unworthy of a collector's dollar, when the real reason is almost always profit margins. We purchase them and sell them here at no profit under our "Rescue Items" section.

WHAT WE STAND BY

We seek to be responsible in our trade, taking into considerations historical values and significance of every piece. But most importantly, we hope to salvage this amazing historical beauties, as much as we can afford to, through an international trade which befits their artistic and historical integrity, treating them as pieces of art history, rather than pieces of exotic fabrics. We believe in universal ownership of history and art. The survival of the tales of the historical people of the Dutch East Indies, and the continuing stories of the contemporary people of Java Island, is what truly matters.

PRODUCT NOTES

All "hip wrappers" ("KAIN PANJANG") are approximately 240 CM X 120 cm unless otherwise specified

A "Sarung" (often written as "sarong") is a tubular hip wrapper sewn together at the ends. Some pieces have not been worn and the ends have not been sewn together, and can often be distinguished from the existence of a "tumpal", or a "panel" designed differently from the rest of the cloth, and this part is to sit in front when worn.

"Pagi-Sore" translates to "Morning-Late Afternoon" is a format of kain panjang design where one half is designed to be worn in the morning and the other in the late afternoon ("sore" is between 3 pm to 6 pm, a concept which does not exist in the English language). This design came about during the shortage of cloth in the 1930s and 1940s during the Great Depression and the war.

All vintage BATIK TULIS are done on BOTH SIDES of the cloth, or done in such away that drawing and dying on the one side penetrated the cloth deeply enough so that the "back" appear as spectacular as the "front".

All BATIK TULIS are hand drawn (sketches and wax), hand stripped (wax), and hand dipped (dyes).

Each fully TULIS pieces take several months to several years to make.
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