Laweyan & Kauman:
The Oldest Batik Villages in Solo
Surakarta, or commonly called Solo, is one of the most famous batik central in Indonesia. Two famous Batik villages in Solo that having long history of Batik, Laweyan Batik Village and Kauman Batik Village offer you a lot to admire.
Surakarta, or commonly called Solo, is one of the most famous batik central in Indonesia. Batik Solo has unique and specific traditional pattern through the process of “Batik Cap (stamped) and Batik Tulis (hand-drawn)”. There are two famous Batik villages in Solo that having long history of Batik, Laweyan Batik Village and Kauman Batik Village. Both now are designed as cultural villages, batik center & workshop, and tourist destinations.
The first difference between Laweyan and Kauman is the Batik pattern. Laweyan Batik Village has hundreds of modern batik patterns and it’s known to use bright color, while Kauman Batik Village has classic motifs and mostly use dark color such as dark brown.
The Laweyan Batik Village is Solo’s oldest and most famous Batik village, after the Kauman Village. The village is located at the heart of Solo with various heritage buildings that have a unique blend of Javanese, European, Chinese and Islamic architectural features surrounded by tall fences. Laweyan has been existed since the Kingdom of Pajang (15681-1586), the first Islamic kingdom in Java.
Walk through Laweyan’s narrow alleys, you’ll found the houses of batik makers. The old buildings are revived not only as residences, but also as batik production houses and galleries. Batik has become the main livelihood of most of the 2, 500 residents here who are either employed in the manufacturing or selling.
Motif Jarik (long cloth usually worn by woman as traditional dress) with Truntun and Tirto Tejo motifs are the main characteristic of batik Laweyan. Laweyan’s Batik has lighter color compared to Kauman’s that has dark color and classic motif. Now, Laweyan has 250 motifs of batik which already patented.
Kauman, located not far from Jl. Slamet Riyadi, has maintained the tradition because of the many Abdi Dalem (royal servant) batik makers of the Kraton Surakarta/Solo (Sultanate Palace) living in the district. Kauman also has historical architectures such as the Joglo mansions, Limasan houses, colonial buildings and Javanese-Dutch architectures.
In earlier time, Kauman Batik Village became Abdi Dalem’s settlement who maintaining the tradition by making Batik. Different from Laweyan, Kauman’s Batik has classic motif with silk materials that represents Kasunanan Palace’s Batik.
Nowadays, Kauman’s Batik has 3 types of motif, there are classic Batik Tulis (hand-drawn batik) which become favorite product, Batik Cap (stamped) and combination of classic and stamp batik which use dark color.
Not just shopping and admiring batik patterns in Laweyan and Kauman, if you’re interested, you can follow short course of making Batik or if you want to explore the techniques of making handmade Batik Tulis and Batik Cap you can follow intensive workshop program. You can also experience drawing pattern with canting (pen for drawing Batik motif) or stamping batik with your own hand.