For generations, the people of Solo in Central Java have created batik, using distinctive motifs in colours that identify their origin.
There are several traditional Solo batik motifs that are enduringly popular, including the Parang, Sidomukti, Kawung, Truntum, Liris, Satrio Manah, and Semen Rante. Each has its own philosophy, reflected in the meaning of the symbols on the fabric, as well as their use.
Solo batik is predominantly brown, as it uses sogan colouring, but there are also dark blue and cream hues. These three colours are a symbol of the Trimurti, namely the gods Brahma, Wisnu and Shiva, used since ancient times to reinforce that kings were considered descendants of gods.
There are several places that have become batik tourist attractions in Solo, the most famous being the Kauman Batik Tourism Village and the Laweyan Village. At both, you can watch the artisans at work, and buy batik to take home. If you want to hunt for batik at bargain prices, head to Klewer Market and the Solo Wholesale Centre.
To find out more about this time-honoured craft, visit the Danar Hadi Batik Museum, which tells the stories of Solo and Yogyakarta batik, as well as the history of Danar Hadi’s batik business.
Solo craftspeople are increasingly taking an innovative approach to batik motifs, incorporating more contemporary designs, as well as maintaining tradition. This has led to a lot more choice in the market, which especially appeals to young people.