Batik Nettie Kwee

Nettie Kwee (born as Kwee Tjoen Giok) and Oey Soe Tjoen were probably the most famous Peranakan batik makers in the 20th century. Because they both came from a family that ran a batik workshop, young Oey Soe Tjoen and Nettie Kwee were no stranger to batik’s world. Shortly after they married, they started their own hand-drawn batik workshop in kedoengwoeni, Pekalongan.

Hand-drawn wax resist on machine-woven cotton, synthetic dyes, Kedoengwoeni-Pekalongan, C. 1930-1940
Nettie Kwee’s wax signature 

Although initially, Oey Soe Tjoen’s and Nettie Kwee’s designs were signed separately, “Oey Soe Tjoen Kedoengwoeni” for Oey Soe Tjoen and “Kwee Nettie” for Nettie Kwee , the designs and the color schemes were still a mixture of Oey Soe Tjoen’s and Nettie Kwee’s works.

All Borders and head motifs are embellished with “grandil”, angle-like motifs that required extraordinary skill and patience to draw
The design with egrets and lotus flower was inspired from Batik “Belanda”

As a result of their collaboration, their workshop produced the best-made Peranakan batiks that were highly regarded among the Indonesian Chinese and the Straits Chinese Peranakans.This exquisite batik sarong from circa 1930s is a fine example of Nettie Kwee’s work. The head or “kepala” of this Sarong is  adorned with a delicate bouquet of wisteria which symbolize prosperity and chrysanthemums which indicate middle age. The body or “badan” is decorated with egrets and lotus flowers that symbolize protection and fertility. By the design of this batik, it was most likely that this batik was made for a mature and affluent Peranakan Nyonya.

The head or “kepala” of the sarong is decorated with wisteria flowers which represent a shower of prosperity

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