Batik with rare Tambal Patchwork Motif

Northcoast Java

Cotton; tulis hand drawn batik

Early 20th Century

102 x 42 in/259 x 106 cm


Tambal translates to "patchwork", and is probably the most prestigious of batik motifs. The design offers a spiritual reference, giving the message that the wearer is so humble that he or she is  "dressed in rags" like a mystic holy man. In actual fact, only people of great wealth and possessing the highest social standing could command the resources to commission a tambal batik; the complexity of the pattern is a great challenge to execute in the tulis, the “hand drawn” batik technique.