Batik Liem Giok Kwie

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“Cempaka Mulya” pattern

After 1910, Like their Indo-European counterparts, Peranakan entrepreneurs often adorned a piece of batik cloth with beautifully hand drawn “buketan” pattern. Flowers used in buketan, originated from the word bouquet, were usually Chinese auspicious flowers.

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Hand-drawn wax resist on machine-woven cotton, synthetic dyes, Kedoengwoeni-Pekalongan, c. 1940
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Liem Giok Kwie’s wax signature

Therefore, to truly see the beauty of a batik, one need to understand the meaning behind the batik’s motif. In the Chinese philosophy, Mù lán or Magnolia flower is believed to symbolize the beauty and elegance of a woman. Inspired by the flower from the “Magnolia Champaca” plant, Peranakan batik entrepreneurs such as Liem Giok Kwie of Kedoengwoeni successfully integrated this traditional chinese philosophy into a buketan pattern known as “Cempaka Mulya”. In the early 20th century, batik with this pattern was worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at a Peranakan Chinese wedding to express wishes for wisdom and long life.

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