Indonesian crafts


Megalithic sculpture has been discovered in several sites in Indonesia. Subsequently, tribal art has flourished within the culture of Nias, Batak, Asmat, Dayak and Toraja. Wood and stone are common materials used as the media for sculpting among these tribes. Between 8th to 15th century, Javanese civilization has developed a refined stone sculpting art and architecture.


The textiles of Indonesia is diverse; from bark-cloth of Eastern Indonesia to intricately woven tenun fabrics from Sumba. Examples of Indonesian textiles includes batik from Java, to songket and ikat developed in many parts of the archipelago. Batik, which is an art of wax-resist dyeing which creates intricate motifs, was elevated as a national artform—a national costume of Indonesia, which transcends Indonesian ethnic groups. Numbers of patterns and motifs has been developed, especially in Java, which contains symbolic meanings and significance. Batik cloth and shirts has been worn as a formal attire, also often proudly worn as uniforms. In October 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


Pottery was developed in Indonesia as early as 400 BCE in Buni culture in coastal West Java, which produced peculiar pottery with incised, geometrical decorations. Clay potteries were developed with evidence found in Anyer to Cirebon. Artifacts such as food and drink containers, dated from 400 BC to AD 100 have been found, mostly as burial gifts.


Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique originated from Indonesia.Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting , or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired.


Popular metal crafts and weapons from from Indonesia include keris (daggers) and swords and arrows and spears from Papua and bone blow pipes from Kalimantan. Batik copper stamps are used in the cap production of batik and are collected by some people. Special designs can be made at the Cap Man in Jakarta where cap are worked into drawers and furniture as well as lazy susans, coasters or trivets.


The kris or keris is a distinctive, asymmetrical dagger from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Both weapon and spiritual object, the kris is considered to possess magical powers. Since time immemorial no weapon has been made renowned and revered in the Malay world as the kris.

Basketwork and Beadwork

Some of the finest basketwork in Indonesia comes from Lombok. the spiral woven using this method, while smaller receptacles topped with wooden carvings are also popular. On Java, Tasikmalaya is a major cane-weaving centre, often adapting baskets and vessels to modern uses with the introduction of zips and plastic lining. The Minangkabau, centred around Bukit Tinggi, also produce interesting palm leaf bags and purses, well the lontar palm is used extensively in weaving on Timor, Roti and other outer eastern islands.