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Silver Crafts on Kotagede

A historical neighbourhood in Yogyakarta, Kotagede – previously a forest named Mentaok – is a renowned hub of silvercraft in Indonesia.

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Silverworks and silvercrafts began to develop when Kotagede was established as the capital of the Islamic Mataram kingdom in the 16th century, and grew popular during the colonial period in the 1930s. With the Dutch colonial government establishing measures protecting the craft in the 1950s, silverworks continue to prosper in Kotagede to the present day.

At the heart of silverworks manufacturing in Kotagede are its intricate floral motifs and genuine craftsmanship that retains manual production while keeping the handmade products historically authentic and, thus, highly desirable. Visitors to Kotagede can observe main streets lined with silver workshops and stores displaying pristine silverware and jewellery locally designed by the Yogyakarta silversmiths.

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While the focus from art to mass production of silver goods is threatening the preservation of Kotagede’s unique silver heritage, creative initiatives like the Selaka Kotagede Project aim to preserve the silversmith traditions and to offer opportunities for craftsmen to come together and collaborate with each other in a collective platform, keeping the delicate art and its techniques alive for future generations.