November 4, 2016

Batik, Cethe, Tari & Kartini

Our last day in Jeruk, Lasem & Rembang was spend well. It started with documenting the tough process of boiling out the wax from the previously dyed Batik cloths. I saw this a few times before, but not like this. Ibu Ramini dipped the cloth barehanded in the boiling water. She dipped the end of the cloth in some cold water so she could turn it and do the other side of the cloth. Her collegue Ibu Juwariyah with whom she dyed the cloth the before, was pressing the just boiled cloth with her feet to remove the final traces of wax. 
An intens process which is hard and hot to create such delicate beauty at the end!

Because our flight got put to an earlier departure time, we had to fit more in our last day. We headed to Rembang to visit the Museum Kartini. Or better, the last place she lived. I still which to visit the place in Jepara were she is from, but that is for a next journey...We had a nice guide who appreciated my Kartini shirt. My Kartini shirt got actually dyed the day before in a great "chocolate" colour after I couldn't get it white anymore (Idea credit from Barbara).

Photo by Jennifer

After Museum Kartini we headed for syrup & coffee. The store sells al kinds of Chinese sweets and the Kawista syrup is their specialty. It had many names, but I believed the logo stayed the same. The Chinese folktale of the the boy on the back of a phenix. The logo is also on their bottle caps and I got some to make earrings!
After the syrup, it was time for coffee. I can always drink coffee, but this place is different. Here they make the cigarettes decorated with coffee calked Cethe. I heard about this from Pak William Kwan a few years ago and was happy he reminded us to go and see it (see post "All we can give as presents..."). We were very disappointed no one was there to make it, but we ordered a coffee anyway. A few minutes later a man arrived who was one of their regular customers who knows how to do it. He didn't mind showing us. He decorated a whole package while smoking and sharing stories about how he was invited to show his art in Jakarta and got to nervous to make it. He had no nerves at all now with us sitting starring at his hands.
So great to see this art live!

Pak Saefozi making Cethe at Warung Kopi Pak Ndut

It was time for the Tari Batik, so we headed first to Ibu Ramini to get my things and then to Ibu Maryati. I arrived at the house and next to it hang a long line of black with red Batiks out to dry. The image was so beautiful. I decided to change the location to film, when Dwi was wearing a red kabaya and a black with red batik from her mother. If I have set this up, it wouldn't have been so spot on. She finished her first performance and the wind waiting till that moment to blow all the batiks up...
Dwi changed into her regular clothing and we headed for the field nearby. I was very happy with our great driver Pak Pri also being my assistant. Dwi arrived and performed a second time with an audience of 10 young boys. The boys set down and watch mesmerized, absolutely quiet. She finished her dance and we gave her a big applause. I didn't want to put her more on the spot, so I announced it's a wrap. I saw relief and pride on her face.

Dwi performing Tari Batik

Leaving Jeruk was with true heartache, I know I will return again one day, I just have to!


  1. I wish I was there to see the Tari Batik, Sabine ��. I hope you will share the video with us after your done editing it.

    1. Of course!!! :)))
      Thanks for sharing this lovely batik journey to Rembang, Lasem & Jeruk with me!