$450 - SOLD
--- SALE --- SALE --- SALE --- The Solo Peranakan Chinese batik tulis seem to have always been considered as the ugly cousin of the more meticulous and glamourous Pekalongan ones. Their colours aren't as flamboyant (at least not at first), their quality control can sometimes appear less consistent, and their composition arguably arbitrary. But these make the Solo style Peranakan Chinese batik tulis the more fascinating!
This batik tulis is signed "Njonja Tjoa Tjoen Tiang" (Read: Nyonya Choa Choon Tyang, Nyonya = Mrs.).
Judging from the shade of the brown "sogan" background, the fine lines produced by a fine tipped "canting", the small birds scattered around the background, and the fluidity with which these little creatures were drawn, this is possibly an earlier work of Mrs. Tjoa Tjoen Tiang. She was a second generation Tjoa, the first of which started this style in the early 1900s. An earlier piece by TTT would therefore be estimated to be from around 1920s. Unlike the Western convention of signature which is individualistic and personal in nature, the Javanese convention on signature for Batik Tulis is usually rather "communal", in that Mrs Tjoa Tjoen Tiang would supervise and approve or disapprove pieces done by crafts people under her employment, a bit like modern fashion design houses. It is therefore very likely that although this piece is signed Tjoa Tjoen Tiang, that it is done by the same batik makers as those pieces signed by the previous generation Tjoas (the Tjoa Gioks).
It is commonly agreed that Tjoa Tjoen Tiang worked mainly in the 1930s. It is also our theory that fully signed pieces are an indication of work done earlier in her career, as she later signed her batik tulis by her initials TTT with large round dots in between which then evolved to TOTOT.
Another indication that this might be an older Tjoa Tjoen Tiang is that towards later years, the 3 Negeri batik tulis also appear to have increasing variety of animals and other things scattered in the background, from baskets of flowers, to fruits (this one is rarely found), to a variety of animals which are strangely drawn without consideration to their natural proportion to the main buketan (bouquet) design which usually serves as the main visual centre of the cloth.
Not all 3 Negeri batik tulis are decorated with such charmingly drawn animals. Many which I have seen are drawn rather awkwardly, even though they were all signed by Tjoa Giok Tjiam or Tjoa Tjoen Tiang, and can be attributed to the same period of production. Which makes this rather battered piece a real treasure worth rescuing.
We also therefore conclude that this is potentially a "transitional" piece from the "Tjoa Giok" generation of the early 1900s to that of the "Tjoa Tjoen" generation of 1930s.
CONDITION: there are some stitch repairs, small moth holes and pin holes common to a fabric this old, as indicated by white stickers.