SET B1 Javanese Kraton Royalty
These sets depict the court of the Sultans who enjoyed a semi-feudal yet religious relationship with their subjects and were garbed differently for the various ceremonial (wearing full regalia) or religious (semi-naked) occasions. Each set includes the sultan, attendants and accessories.
There were many small kingdoms developing in Java from around the time of the Hindu/Buddhist Mataram (7th to 17th Century) and the Hindu Majapahit (13th to 15th Century) empires. In 1704, Sultan Amangkurat III of the Mataram Dynasty took the title Susuhunan and became Pakubuwono I. In 1745, his heir Pakubuwono II moved his court to the village of Solo and renamed it Surakarta, thus establishing the lineage for the Kraton (palace) Surakarta. The Kraton Yogyakarta was founded later in 1755 by Sultan Hamengubuwono I.
The Javanese Kraton is a complex physical structure laid out with representations on cosmological dimensions and comprises mosques, squares and pendopos (open-sided halls) and serves as the spiritual centre of the kingdom. Life in the kraton is highly ritualized. The ruler lives within the kraton walls with his family, court officials, entertainers and abdi dalem (court attendants). Ceremonies and celebrations are carefully observed in great detail.
Royalty and court officials are either bare chested or dressed in a black jacket of Western influence, usually faced with gold embroidery, the amount depending on hierarchy. There are several types of headdresses such as an iket (head scarf), a kuluk (cloth cap), in blue or black velvet ornamented with gold, and a Madura hat.
The courtiers would wear coloured trousers with either a sarong, kain panjang or kain dodot. These are rectangular cloth of various sizes which are worn wrapped around the hips. The sarong is a tubular cloth which is wrapped around the lower torso and legs. The kain panjang is a longer piece of cloth which is worn wrapped around the lower torso and legs but with the additional length tucked into the waist or left loose to drape on the ground to create a dramatic effect. The kain dodot is even larger. Lithographs and other pictures of the period show various sarongs, kain panjang and kain dodot worn in a flamboyant manner in ostentatious display. Sometimes, a belt with a buckle is used to secure the cloth. A keris is usually worn tucked at the back.
The cloth is created with batik patterns using a wax-resist dyeing process. Two natural dyes are used: indigo (blue) and soga (brown) on a white background. Different dyeing techniques produce further shades and hues from these dyes. The batik patterns are very complex and this series will carefully depict the various types as worn the courtiers.
The rarefied world of the kraton has created a form of batik with specific patterns that were worn only by the kraton courtiers. Generally, Yogya batik is typified by red browns set against a white background and Solo batik is typified by dark browns set against a light yellow background.
For the most solemn ceremonies such as installing a new ruler or on his wedding, the ruler would be bare-chested, wearing a blue kuluk. The batik worn would usually be either a Parang Rusak for investiture or sawat with semen motifs for a wedding on the kain panjang, and usually, a blue coloured dodot would also be worn.
Golden Chersonese Miniatures is proud to delve into these batik patterns and attempt to produce them in miniature. The batik patterns would be more elaborately painted for royalty figures. As the series develops, more Batik patterns will be elaborated in these sets.
One unique approach to the figures in this series is in the use of additional castings or sheet metal added to the figurine to depict the folds of the large kain panjang or dodot, as shown in the following examples:-
The figures were assembled and further modified with either castings or sheet metal to depict batik cloth.
Assembled piece for a ruler on his throne
This refinement gives an added elegance to each piece when fully painted up and completed.