During the decades of 1960 to 2000, the name, Iwan Tirta (1935-2010), was synonymous with batik. Batik gained wide international audience because of increase of scholarship on batik and a proliferation of how-to manuals on batiking. Batiking and surface patterning became associated with populations emerging on the islands of the Malay Archipelago. Batik technical skills reached an unprecedented level on the island of Java resulting with superbly decorated cloths. Under official status of an Indonesian state in 1945, batik cultural position and its trajectory changed under President Sukarno (1945-1968). This study focuses on Iwan Tirta's as de facto cultural arbiter under political aegis of President Suharto (1968-1998). Orde Baru (New Order) (Boehlke, 1992, 2008) politics under Suharto secured batik's emblematic position in representing Indonesia and its cultural heritage. Batik has become a visible descriptor for Indonesian cultural sense and sensibilities. This research seeks to determine Iwan Tirta's relationship with batik. It seeks how he understands it conceptually and how he interprets his understanding into his commodities. An extensive body of written text spanning nearly four decades discloses Iwan Tirta's views about batik. The text serves as a source for his claims made about batik, but evaluated against his sartorial constructions.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2012. Major: Design, Housing and Apparel. Advisors: Dr. Joanne Eicher, Dr. Marilyn DeLong. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 262 pages.
Kuhr, Daniell-Robert Gerard.
Iwan Tirta (1960-2000), the commodification of Batik: brokering past as present & the re-imagination of "Indonesian personality".
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