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Ottoman Influences on Islamic Batik from Indonesia




Ottoman Influences on Islamic Batik from Indonesia

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Thursday, May 30
1:00–3:00 p.m. PT
Speaker: Thomas Murray, independent researcher, collector, lecturer, and private art dealer
Virtual Event


Throughout the Indonesian archipelago, calligraphic batik textiles have been used during sacred ceremonies. Such cloths were made primarily in Jambi, located in west Sumatra, Indonesia, but were also known from the North Coast region of Java, Indonesia. The batik textiles were patterned by a hand-painted wax resist called tulis. These batiks absorbed stylistic influences from the outside world through trade, pilgrimage, and politics.

Ottoman influences on batik kaligrafi include the use of a tugra, the official signature of the Ottoman emperor, as an icon. With many layers of meaning, it served as a statement of political alliance, but also as a talismanic device. One need not be literate to recognize the power of such a striking graphic device to ward off the evil eye.

This lecture will offer a review of the long relationship between Indonesia and Turkey from the 16th century forward; consider the role of spice trade economics on European colonialism and Islamic local resistance; and finally, survey all forms of calligraphic batik, offering a new interpretation of their purpose, which suggests these cloths may have originated earlier than previously identified, and how this tradition continues in an interesting and unexpected ways.


Speaker Bio:

Thomas Murray is an independent researcher, collector, lecturer, and private dealer of Asian and tribal art with an emphasis on Indonesian sculpture and textiles, as well as animistic art from other varied cultures. A HALI magazine Contributing Editor for the last 30 years, he serves as their in-house consultant on ethnographic textiles and has featured in more than 50 publications. His most recent books, “Textiles of Japan,” “Rarities From the Himalayas to Hawaii,” and “Textiles of Indonesia,” were met with critical acclaim. Thomas Murray is past President of ATADA, the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association and served a three-year term as a member of President Obama’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee at the State Department. In a letter from the White House, President Obama said, “This dedicated individual brings a wealth of experience and talent to his new role and I am proud to have him serve in the months and years to come.” Thomas Murray continues to consult with museums and private clients all over the world. He lives in California.


Please note, this session will be conducted virtually via Zoom.

Save your spot by clicking on this link. All participants will be sent the Zoom link via confirmation email with instructions once you secure your place.


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Sponsored by the Asian Arts Council.


Featured at top right: Long cloth, kain panjang (detail), Jambi, Sumatra, 19th-early 20th century. Cotton, hand-drawn batik. Private collection. Image courtesy of Thomas Murray.

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May 30
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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