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  • Traditional Crafts in Java

    Central Java and Jogjakarta are so full of talented artisans that a visit to the area would not be complete without stuffing your suitcase with everything from handmade pottery, to fine silver filigree, bamboo carvings, embroidery, leather goods and, of course, gorgeous hand-made and printed batik.

    For starters, there’s the Malioboro street traditional market, and the Triwindu antique centre. For brass artifacts, visit Juwana in the Pati regency, or for beautiful teak furniture, Jepara’s products are exported all over the world. A visit to the region’s art galleries and other traditional markets is bound to uncover a few treasures.

    Of course there are also several more modern malls for a shop till you drop experience. On second thought, maybe your suitcase won’t be big enough. If not, there are many shipping agencies that will ship your good back home, safely and securely. And just think of the memories you’ll send back with them.


    Another tradition which remained virtually untouched by modern technology is the silver trade which thrives in the picturesque center of Kota Gede, just seven kilometers out of the city center. Silver workshops have existed here since the 16th century and have survived colonization, world wars and the fight for independence. Not much has changed in the methods of producing fine silverware. The whole process – from the melting of pure silver beads to forging, engraving and assembling the different parts in the final product is done by hand.


    Yogya is famous for its traditional batik cloth and Jalan Tirtodipuran is the heart of the Batik home industry. Before setting off on a batik-buying spree, it is worth visiting the Batik Research Center on Jalan Kusmanegara 2. Here you will find an enormous variety of patterns and styles, as well as be able to see all the steps involved in the complex production process.


    Wayang, the traditional shadow puppet theatre, has been integral to Javanese life for at least a millennium. Based largely on the tales of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata, the wayang uses high drama, action, slapstick comedy ad satire to entertain, instruct and examine Javanese society. It has many forms including flat, leather puppets, wooden figures or even human actors in face paint, and the inanimate wayang are manipulated by a dalang (expert puppeteer). The Sono Budoyo Museum on Jalan Malioboro, Yogyakarta has a good collection of wayang puppets, examples of which can be bought at stalls or shops in the city.


    As Indonesia‘s premier tourist destination, Bali features some of the best shopping the country has to offer. From designer boutiques to ancient stone carvings, Bali offers a fascinating blend of the modern and traditional world. Some of the world’s foremost artists and jewellery designers call the island home whilst the local population are renowned the world over for their artistic skill and flair, whether on canvas, wood, silver or stone. The fashion industry on Bali is also flourishing and the streets of Kuta, Seminyak, Kerobokan and Ubud are lined with colourful boutiques, with both local and international labels on offer. Bali’s Kuta Square and Galleria Mall feature more of the world’s top labels and popular chains. Bali is also paradise for lovers of old teak furniture and more modern furnishing designs. The thriving villas industry has inspired a wealth of designer home-ware and interior decor shops allowing visitors the chance to furnish their houses back home in the same cutting-edge fashion.

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    11 comments to Traditional Crafts in Java

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