The Indonesian islands are famous for their magnificent hand-woven cloths, colors and designs in material and creations, some intricate, others stunning in their pure simplicity. Each of the thousands of Indonesian islands produces its specific textile, most often based on philosophical and religious values that have been handed down through the generations.
To get a glimpse of the wide variety of these textiles, a visit to the Jakarta Textile Museum is simply a must.
Housed in an elegant colonial mansion, the Jakarta’s Textile Museum is located, not incongruously, near the bustling textile wholesale market of Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta. But since it is set quite deep inside protected by shady trees, the museum itself is a haven of cool and quiet, where one can walk at leisure and admire its many attractive displays.
Set up with the purpose of conserving and furthering the precious art and culture of Indonesian craft in textiles, the Textile Museum was the brainchild of Jakarta’s much loved Governor Ali Sadikin, and was officially opened by then First Lady Mrs. Tien Soeharto on 28 June 1976.
Starting the collection, the Foundation for Indonesian Textiles under Ir Safioen, Director General for Textiles in the Ministry of Industry of the time, received donations of some 500 quality and rare cloths from around Indonesia. Today, the Museum has a collection of nearly 2,000 pieces dating from the 18th century to contemporary creations.
The Museum displays a wide spectrum of different cloths: batiksfrom Yogya and Solo, songkets from West Sumatra, many interwoven with silver and gold thread, hand-woven ikat cloths from Flores and Sumba, Bugis silk sarongs from Makassar in Sulawesi, to non-woven cloths from bark and animal fur. In the museum one can also see implements for thread preparations, weaving looms from the different regions, to textile ornamentations. The Museum also has a 2,000 sq, meters garden for natural dyes. There is a Batik gallery and a workshop where visitors may learn how to batik, weave or prepare dyes. Here visitors can observe the development of Indonesian textiles through the ages.
The mansion in which the Museum is housed was originally built in the 19th century by a Frenchman. Through the decades it changed hands a number of times, until the building was handed to the Jakarta local government, who then earmarked it to house the JakartaTextile Museum.
The address of the Textile Museum is as follows:
Jl. Aipda K.S. Tubun No. 2 – 4 Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +6221 560 6613 | Fax. +6221 565 4401
Besides admiring the diverse kinds of textiles produced by Indonesia’s skill hands, take time to admire the building itself which is now also included in the Heritage buildings list.
For those who wish to try things out hands on there is a Workshop area at the “Pendopo” or open gallery, where the Museum holds regular batik courses for anyone interested in batik making . Local participants are charged Rp 40,000, while for foreigners the course costs Rp75,000. There are also other courses in different handicrafts such as embroidery or doll making, Rp 65,000 per person), or making accessories which costs Rp35,000 per person.
Next to the main building, the Museum houses a Batik gallery, a library, a Lab for an area for Safe storage of textiles, an auditorium, an introductin room, souvenir shop and more.
The Textile Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm, but is closed Mondays and national holidays.
Entry tickets per person are: Rp. 5,000 for adults, Rp. 3,000 for students and Rp. 2,000 for children.