Central Javanese Traditional Clothing: Types, Meanings, Philosophy, and Explanations

Central Java Traditional Clothing – Indonesian batik was crowned as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2009, encouraging UNESCO to emphasize to Indonesia to preserve this heritage. As a province famous for its batik, Central Java has traditional clothing in the form of batik. But Sinaumed’s, Central Java’s traditional clothing is not just batik, you know. Anything? Now, it’s our turn to discuss the traditional clothing of this area.

Central Javanese Culture

Central Java has a culture that is closely related to Javanese culture (Kejawen). The Surakarta Palace is the center of culture in Central Java. Therefore, the Surakarta Palace is the destination for art and cultural performances in this province.

Broadly speaking, Central Javanese culture is divided into two types, namely Banyumasan Javanese and Coastal Javanese. Banyumasan Javanese culture is the result of a blend of Javanese, Cirebon and Sundanese cultures. Meanwhile, Coastal Javanese Culture is the result of a fusion of Javanese and Islamic cultures.

Although divided into two types, the culture of Central Java has many similarities to Yogyakarta and East Java. In terms of language, community habits, norms and dialects are not much different from the two regions. Naturally, the traditional clothes worn are not much different and mutually influence one another.

Central Java is one of the areas whose people are known to be steadfast in protecting their ancestral heritage. This long lasting tradition is maintained and harmonized with the progress of the times, even technological advances are used by the population to introduce their culture. Batik is one of them.

Although many regions have their own types of batik, it is undeniable that Central Javanese batik is the batik that is often shown to the public.

Regarding ethnicity, it cannot be denied that the Javanese ethnic group has the largest number in the country. And in ancient times, many of the centers of Javanese glory were in Central Java. Call it the Mataram Kingdom, both Hindu Mataram and Islamic Mataram. Both are in Central Java. Therefore, it is not surprising that Javanese culture, especially Central Java, has inspired many other regions in terms of culture, including traditional clothing.

Types, Meanings, Philosophy, and Explanations of Traditional Clothing

We will discuss several types of traditional Central Javanese clothing below, Sinaumed’s. Get ready.

1. Batik Fabrics

It is undeniable that Central Java has a variety of batik. This batik cloth, which has various motifs, is used as a raw material for traditional Central Javanese clothing. Batik has been made hundreds of years ago, history even records that for the first time batik was traded in 1586 in Surakarta.

What makes batik more expensive is the hand-written method of making batik. Therefore, someone whose handwriting is good and long is said to be “making batik”.

To make it easier to understand Central Javanese traditional clothing, it’s a good idea to get to know the Central Javanese batik cloth motifs first.

  • Sido Wirasat Batik

Used by the parents of the bride and groom in weddings. This cloth means that parents and in-laws can give good advice as well as pray for their children and in-laws so that their households run well, reach high degrees, and all expectations are fulfilled.

  • Chicken Claw Batik

Used by parents when the Mitoni, Siraman, and Tarub events are held. This batik represents the hope that the child who is getting married can make a living and live independently after marriage, not only for the bride and groom but also for their offspring.

  • Grageh Wuluh batik

It can be used by anyone and at any time because this batik cloth is usually used for daily activities. This motif reminds everyone to always have clear aspirations and goals in life so that they are always enthusiastic about living life.

  • Parang Kusumo Batik

Batik, which can only be used by the nobility, represents the hope that the wearer can gain nobility, position, and be kept away from all harm by God Almighty.

  • Batik Kawung Picis

This batik is also devoted to people who come from royalty. Its meaning is that humans never forget where they come from, guide the four cardinal directions, and in order to control their passions, humans should always use their conscience in all their activities.

Apart from the above batiks, there are many other types of batik. And what needs to be remembered is, each motive has a meaning. Nowadays, not many people wear batik according to the role and purpose of choosing the motif. Because not many people understand that every motive turns out to have a different philosophy.

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2. Central Java Kebaya

Many areas use kebaya as their respective traditional clothes which are specifically for women. Call it the Rancongan Kebaya from Madura, the Sundanese Kebaya from Sunda, the Betawi Kebaya from Betawi, and others. Meanwhile, the term kebaya itself actually comes from the Arabic word abaya which means clothing.

Central Java kebaya certainly has its own uniqueness. With a classic yet classy appearance, the Central Javanese kebaya has a bit of a mysterious impression. Central Javanese kebaya is often used by brides at weddings.

In order to look luxurious and appear like a queen’s aura, the material chosen is velvet or silk. Meanwhile, for daily activities, the cloth used is cotton or even thin, rather transparent nylon cloth decorated with embroidery or embroidery.

However, this kebaya is also often used for graduation ceremonies, traditional events, welcoming guests, and commemorating holidays.

In general, this kebaya is black. To ensure that the chest is covered safely, Central Javanese women use a tank as an undergarment. The beauty of the kebaya is in harmony with the shape of a woman’s body which is pleasing to the eye, so stagen is needed to tighten the abdomen and waist. So that the stagen is not visible from the outside, a cape is needed.

At the bottom, Central Javanese women wear a long cloth called jarik. This jarik cloth has a batik pattern.

To make it look more elegant but firm, a woman’s hair is arranged in a bun with jasmine flowers on it. In order for all this beauty to be more perfect, it is very necessary to add jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and sometimes one more accessory, namely a fan.

The explanation above is a traditional kebaya according to the kebaya in the early days. For today, there are not a few kebaya which are designed with various colors and are more trendy because of the high public interest. Especially now that there are many kebaya that are intended for women who wear hijab, of course, they require adjustments so that they can cover their genitals perfectly.

Culture has its own philosophy regarding the use of kebaya. Patience and gentleness are the meanings stored in the kebaya. If observed closely, kebaya pieces always follow the shape of the body. This means that Javanese women are required to be able to adapt and take care of themselves wherever they are.

3. Surjan

This attire was once reserved for members of the royal family who came from the nobility or royal courtiers (civil apparatus). So that not just anyone can wear Surjan’s clothes. Generally, Surjan’s clothes are used when official events take place.

Surjan’s shirt looks similar to a beskap with a brown and black striated pattern with a pocket on the front. The bottom is a long, batik-patterned cloth wrapped around the waist and extending to the ankles.

As a head covering, men can use a blangkon made of batik cloth. The cloth is wrapped around the head and then tied. For now, ready-made instant blangkon can be found, making it easier for men to wear it.

In Javanese tradition, it is said that it is a disgrace for men to have long hair, so they must be covered with a blangkon. On the back of the blangkon you can find a bulge called mondolan.

Meanwhile, if Sinaumed’s looks carefully, you will find two ties on the back which symbolize the two sentences of the creed that are tightly tied together. That is, someone who wears a blangkon should hold fast to a strong bond, namely Islamic teachings.

4. Kanigaran

In the past, Kanigaran was a garment that was often worn by kings. From his appearance alone already reveals majesty and power. But now it is often used for weddings.

For men, this traditional Central Javanese dress is in the form of a beskap with a collar made of fine velvet and decorated with gold embroidery on the front and both cuffs of the sleeves. To make it look luxurious and elegant, a shiny impression is added. Meanwhile for women, they also wear the same color as the men but without a collar.

The bottom of the kanigaran is Dodoran or Kampuh which is different from the usual jarik cloth. Compared to regular jarik, dodotan is relatively more colorful. Dodot use is not enough just wrapped around the waist, but also slung over the hand.

5. Wet

Apart from Kanigaran clothes, Basahan clothes are also often worn by brides during their weddings. This suit is a legacy from the Mataram Kingdom which became a major kingdom in Java.

Basahan’s appearance is very striking because he doesn’t wear a top to cover his upper body. The makeup used when wearing Basahan is called Paes Ageng Kanigaran. The men do not use shirt alias shirtless.

On the chest there is a kind of necklace that symbolizes luxury. For subordinates, the men use dodot cloth that covers the navel. As a head covering, the groom wears a kuluk which has several colors. Do not forget the men carry weapons in the form of keris to show strength.

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Meanwhile, the women leave the shoulders and upper chest exposed. To remain polite, women use kemben to cover the other upper body. While his subordinates, women also use Dodot.

The hair is styled into a bun and decorated with flowers on it. Around her neck also dangles a beautiful necklace. Both men and women, at the base of the arms there is an ornament.

Overall, the philosophy contained in this outfit is very deep. By wearing this dress, the bride and groom are considered to have surrendered to God Almighty. This meaning is symbolized through the clothing and make-up used.

Basahan Clothing contains the hope that the bride and groom can live in a harmonious, prosperous, happy household and can walk in harmony with nature.

A book that will add to your insight about the traditional clothing of Central Java and the Archipelago


6. Long Jawi

It can be said that the official traditional clothes of Central Java are Jawi Jangkep clothes. This outfit is dominated by black on the top and is used by men. The partner of this outfit is the Central Java Kebaya. So that women who accompany their partners during official events wear Jawi Jangkep clothes.

This outfit is in the form of a black beskap accompanied by a golden floral pattern in the middle. This beskap has a rather high collar and has no folds. Around their necks, Central Javanese men wear garlands of jasmine flowers worn around them.

The front and back of the Jawi Jangkep shirt are deliberately asymmetrical. The front is made longer than the back in anticipation of storing the keris. Putting the keris on the back means that humans can resist all kinds of temptations by Satan and the keris is a symbol of resistance.

The Jawi Jangkep shirt is aligned with the long jarik cloth that is worn by wrapping it around the waist. As a complement, a head cover is used in the form of a blangkon. The meaning of using blangkon itself is to show that the man who wears it is a man who covers his disgrace.

Jawi Jangkep’s black clothes are used for formal occasions. Meanwhile Jawi Jangkep Padintenan clothes have colors other than black and are usually used in everyday activities.

As additional information, Jawi Jangkep clothes are also known as Piwulang Sinandhi. The buttons attached to the beskap give a sign that Central Javanese men always act carefully and with full calculation in doing everything.

7. Beskap

At first, the beskap and clothes of Jawi Jangkep were one unit. In other words, the beskap is part of Jawi Jangkep clothing. But as time goes by, beskap is often worn by men separately.

The color of the cloth that is often used to make beskap is plain or black. With a simple design and a straight collar without folds, the beskap model is made asymmetrical as a precaution to store the keris.

So far, there are four types of beskap known in Central Java. First, Beskap Gaya Jogja is oriented towards the Yogyakarta Palace standard. Second, Beskap Landung with a longer front. Third, Beskap Gaya Kulon which is often used in the Purwokerto, Tegal, Banyumas areas and other areas close to West Java. Fourth, Beskap Gaya Solo which refers to the standard of the Surakarta Palace.

8. Kuluk

It has the same function as blankon, namely as a head cover for men. It’s just that the shape of the kuluk is higher and the structure is more rigid. The use of Kuluk is aligned with the wearing of Basahan or Kanigaran clothing and was formerly worn by kings or sultans. Currently, this head covering is used during weddings by the groom.

9. Kris

Just like East Java and Yogyakarta, one of Central Java’s traditional weapons is the keris. The handle of the keris is facing to the right as a symbol of a tendency towards truth. Then the tip of the hilt seemed to bend downwards to signify the humility of the human who carried it. Even though he carries a weapon, a man who uses a keris must have humility.

Sinaumed’s, finally we have finished our discussion regarding Central Javanese traditional clothing. If you are looking for #Friends Without Limits to refresh your thirst for knowledge, then sinaumedia is ready to be at the forefront because we have prepared the best books for you.

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Author: Nanda Iriawan Ramadhan