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Batik shawl, Selendang, Java

Item: Batik shawl, selendang tulis

Size: 31 x 79 in (79 x 201 cm)

Provenance: Pekalongan, Java, Indonesia; mid 20th Century.

Method: tulis batik on very fine old cotton


This batik cloth is an old cloth, with a very polished feel like silk. A selendang or shawl made in Pekalongan on the north coast of Java and popular in Palembang, South Sumatra. It is in the naturalistic style of the coastal areas and reflecting foreign influence called Batik Pesisir.

This batik shawl is hand-drawn batik, also known as batik tulis. Tulis means to write or draw. The pattern is first drawn by wax, with a device called a canting, likely a Javanese invention. It is a small copper vessel attached to a pen-shaped bamboo stick. The melted wax empties out into a bent nozzle. When the vessel is empty, the line is broken, and the vessel has to be refilled. In the best quality work, the stops and starts should not be noticeable. It is a highly skilled job, traditionally carried out by women. Canting work is time consuming and considered the finest, most desirable and most expensive compared with those printed with batik stamps. ( Murni, 2006). The most complex multi-colored batik is patterned on both sides and can take up to 12 months to make.


The selendang is primarily used by women. In the southern part of Sumatra the selendang is a little wider and is used to cover the head and hair. Previously it was also used occasionally to cover the face as a veil, as dictated in Islamic tradition. It is often a multi-purpose cloth that can be used as a carry all.


Very good except for some edge damage. See picture.

Item code: txtl0251 - SOLD!