Chinese Indonesian Batik

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Chinese Indonesian Batik - A Mixture of Indonesia and China

The Chinese constitute a modest proportion of the country's overall population and are often recognized as the country's economic backbone. The majority of the Chinese have been living in Indonesia for several generations. Most of them are of mixed ancestry, do not speak Chinese, have Indonesian surnames, and have evolved different dialects and traditions due to their intermarried relationships with indigenous Indonesians. 

An even smaller group of people believed to be entirely Chinese heritage have a distinct Chinese identity regarding language, religion, and customs.

  • Most of the entire Chinese population resides in the towns and cities of Java and Sumatra, where they engage in commercial activities.
  • In western Kalimantan, where many are farmers, fishermen, and urban workers, the Chinese constitute a considerable proportion of the population.
  • Many people in the Riau archipelago carry a mining heritage passed down through centuries.
  • Most of Indonesia's former Dutch and Eurasian citizens departed after independence. Indonesians of Indian and European descent are few and far between in terms of population today. Yet, their impact on business and Indonesian society is noticeable in the country's main cities.

Batik Chinese and Indonesians

Numerous aristocratic Javanese lineages have evolved their distinctive styles over time. Various batik fabric patterns were created in each location, reflecting the availability of dyes and residents' preferences for color. The designs also included:

  1. Symbolism and representations of regional flora and fauna: include animal and bird species, butterfly species, fish species, shells, flowers, fruits, and leaves.
  2. Animals: like the peacock, eagle, and elephant were occasionally shown in highly stylized forms to comply with Islamic prohibitions on portraying real creatures.

There are more than 3,000 known batik fabric patterns, some of which have remained untouched for hundreds of years and be in the favorites listing of many people from China and Indonesia. Several patterns were designed for specific usage or were prohibited in the China world to commoners, such as batik parang rusa and batik swat, which were restricted for the exclusive use of royalty alone. Although each supplier could make their batik variants, the batik designs were based on conventional patterns.

For example, kawung, which originated in Central Java and is one of the most fundamental patterns, is composed of four ovals or ellipses, which are said to represent the kapok fruit, which is arranged like the petals of a flower and repeated geometrically, with small floral motifs added for ornamentation. When the news of kawung first emerged on a stone figure from Kediri in 1239 C.E., it was considered a new invention.

Parang (also known as "ragged rock" or "chopping knife") is a traditional Javanese textile that originated in Solo, central Java. It is distinguished by embellished diagonal stripes across the cloth, typically framed by scalloped borders.

It is a symmetrical design ideal for batik, made of stars, crosses, and rosettes arranged to make circles or squares continuously symmetrically. It is possible to add animals or plants to the design. However, this is not recommended for a batik shirt.

Semen designs are less geometric, with many representing trees or vines extending across a stylized background rather than straight lines. Designs from India or China have affected the creation of these patterns, which are commonly used in Chinese batik and Indonesian batik.

Chinese Indonesian Languages

The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). However, it has a lot in common with other Malay dialects that have long been used as regional lingua francas, such as the Riau-Jambi dialect of eastern Sumatra, which developed from a literary style of the Malay language that was employed in the royal houses of that region. 

The main distinctions between standard Malay and standard Indonesian are found in their idioms and specific pieces of vocabulary. It wasn't until 1972 that Indonesia and Malaysia agreed on a consistent, updated language spelling, which allowed for enhanced communication and more freely shared literature between the two nations.

Given that it lacks distinguishing phrases based on social hierarchy and is not connected with any of the prominent ethnic groups in the country, the Indonesian language is widely accepted. It has functioned as a powerful force for national unification. Because of its prominence in print since the early twentieth century in various sections of the country, it also functioned as a means of political communication amongst members of the nationalist movement in the years leading up to the revolution and the proclamation of independence in 1945.

Indonesia - China Literature

Writers of ethnic Chinese and Sumatran descent wrote novels, dramas, and poetry in the language, which served as the foundation for developing contemporary Indonesian literature. Currently, Indonesian is the mother tongue of certain city inhabitants and is a second language for most of the population. University students are taught it, and it is utilized in scientific, philosophical, and legal publications, debates, and discussions in these fields.

Most popular songs made for a national audience are written in the Indonesian language, which is used by radio stations, television networks, and films (local languages are rarely used). However, there are a lot of groups in the area that write and perform songs in local languages and dialects.

Chinese Indonesian Religions

On the island of Indonesia, Islam is practiced by over nine-tenths of the population. While Christians are few, they may be found in areas across the nation, notably in Flores and Timor, northern Celebes, the interior of Kalimantan, and the Moluccas. The majority are Protestants or independent Christians, with the remainder primarily being Roman Catholics in affiliation. 

In addition to being Christian, many Chinese live in urban areas and practice Buddhism or Confucianism, occasionally combined with Christianity. Hindus constitute less than 2 percent of the population of Indonesia, although Hinduism is the prominent religion in Bali and has many believers on the island of Lombok. Several indigenous faiths are practiced in certain distant places.

Until they reached such wide areas as Java and southern Sumatra (which were free of natural obstructions), the main faiths of Indonesia were all introduced along the shore and spread slowly into the interior, except for those in Java and southern Sumatra. 

Long before the arrival of foreign faiths in these regions, such as central Kalimantan and western New Guinea, the northern Sumatran mountains, and the interiors of other hilly islands, religions were mostly absent from these areas. However, much of the Christian missionary work done in the twentieth century went to people in the middle of the country.

View of Chinese Indonesian Religious History

The oldest documented history of Indonesia reveals considerable religious influences from India; the early Indonesian governments centered on Java or Sumatra evolved via several varieties of Hinduism, Theravada, Mahayana Buddhism, and other religious traditions. The faiths of Hinduism and Buddhism were followed as court religions throughout the 9th century C.E.; Shiva and Buddha were seen as expressions of the same spiritual entity during this time. 

In the 14th century, Islam, brought to Java and Sumatra by Muslim traders mostly from South Asia, supplanted Hinduism as the major religion along the beaches of Java and Sumatra, a process that took centuries. Islamic influence had spread across the archipelago by the 15th century, particularly in the coastal regions of neighboring islands in the archipelago.

Over the years, when religions changed at the court level, the common people embraced elements of each new religion as an additional layer on top of their original local beliefs, resulting in a religious melting pot. As a result, Islam is expressed in Indonesia in a different way than it is in other parts of the world. Aceh, western Sumatra, western Java, southeastern Kalimantan, and portions of the Lesser Sunda Islands are the areas where the faith is most closely observed, followed by the rest of Indonesia. 

On the Indonesian island of Java, Muslims who adhere to orthodox customs are referred to as santri. While the abangan follow a more syncretic tradition, their beliefs and customs are heavily impacted by their ancestors' beliefs and traditions. With the advent of a more religiously conscious middle class, particularly since the late twentieth century, the abangan style of belief has been losing ground while more traditional Muslim behaviors have been gaining ground. On the other hand, people at all levels pay close attention to the many local rites that happen when people are born, die, and get married. Ceremonies (selamatan) are held on all critical occasions.

Chinese Indonesian Rural Life

Indonesia's rural population accounts for about half of the country's total population. The fact that volcanoes play such a significant role in soil formation and enrichment means that there is a strong link between agricultural growth, population density, and the location of volcanoes. Indonesia's active volcanoes are concentrated on the island of Java, and the highest population densities can be found in areas such as those south and east of Mount Merapi, where volcanic ash and debris enrich the soil. 

Java is home to the world's highest concentration of active volcanoes and the world's highest population density. Bali and northern Sumatra soils also exhibit the same pattern, with the rich soils closely tied to volcanic eruptions' flow patterns. There is a highly systematized agricultural structure in the Indonesian islands of Java, Madura, and Bali, which is focused mostly on wet-rice agriculture. Other places with a high rural population density include parts of Sumatra and Celebes. Most of the rest of the country comprises small settlements that rely on subsistence farming to make money.

Rice fields cover much of Java's flatland and, in many places, ascend the hillsides in terraces, making it the most prevalent type of habitation. The rural village is the most common type of settlement in Java, and it is where most people live. Clusters of coconut, palm, and fruit trees, which mark the locations of communities across the countryside, may be seen scattered around the countryside. There are many communities like this one everywhere in central and eastern Java. Some of them have big populations, and others don't.

Chinese Indonesian Villages

In each village, the inhabitants come together to create a homogenous group regarding economic situations, social interests, and outlooks. In many cases, particularly in irrigated regions, there is a great deal of labor exchange between neighbors. As a result of the overpopulation of densely inhabited regions, the average farm size has shrunk, and the number of landless rural residents has increased, with the majority of them working either as agricultural laborers, sharecroppers, or temporary workers in urban areas.

The water source in each Javanese village is a stream or a well; the community also features a mosque and an elementary school, in addition to a network of swept-earth walkways. A minor amount of formally organized commercial activity takes place; items are obtained through peddlers and tiny stores (warung) or from market towns, which are frequently also local government centers. 

Buildings are well divided and are often constructed of frame and bamboo with roofs of red tile or coconut fibers. However, houses constructed of locally manufactured bricks are becoming increasingly common, particularly among affluent families in the area. The presence of goats, poultry, banana, and papaya trees, and many small children characterizes village life.

The rural structure differs significantly from one location to another. For example, the original multiunit longhouses of some Dayak villages in Kalimantan have been preserved alongside contemporary single-family residences, the building of which has been heavily supported by the local authorities. 

Hindu shrines, public structures, and bigger temples may be found in the Balinese villages clustered together like a maze of fortified family compounds. In addition, the Batak villages near Lake Toba in northern Sumatra, the Minangkabau villages in western Sumatra, and the Toraja villages in southern Celebes all have distinctive construction and architectural styles to distinguish them.

Similar to settlement forms, rural social trends in Indonesia are highly variable across the country's archipelago. When it comes to organized organizations above the level of a family, there are few in Java. Still, settlements on the neighboring island of Bali have many groups involved in working, dancing, and other activities, many of which are tied to Hindu festivals. Many Dayak tribes rely on a system of reciprocal labor to work the rice fields during the especially labor-intensive periods of the agricultural cycle, which is particularly prevalent in the Philippines.

Chinese Indonesian City Life

Compared to other nations at a comparable stage of economic development, Indonesia has a low overall degree of urbanization. Individuals from rural families live and work in urban areas on Java and abroad. Still, they return to their hometowns at least once every six months, partly explained by nonpermanent, or "circular," migration on the island. Cities of all sizes are growing quickly, even though there is a lot of difference in how quickly cities grow in different parts of the country.

With the exception of most of Indonesia's central metropolitan regions (e.g., Jakarta, Surabaya, and Medan), only some of the country's cities have the heterogeneity of an actual urban center, as seen in the following chart. Instead, they serve as the economic, administrative, cultural, and social hubs for large areas of densely populated and different regions of the United States. 

An expansion of industry has yet to match the development of cities, and rural issues still dominate the future for a large portion of the urban population. While living in urban kampongs (villages), large sections of the population, especially in Jakarta, continue to practice traditional rural customs and traditions. Although urban people enjoy a more excellent quality of life than their rural counterparts, the availability of suitable housing, drinkable water, and public transit services remains a significant source of worry.

Four of Indonesia's five main cities—Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, and Bekasi—are on Java; the other, Medan, is on the island of Sumatra. Jakarta is the country's capital and largest city. These five cities may be called metropolitan centers rather than significant provincial towns since they are home to the country's political, banking, and business institutions. Another group of significant cities, including Semarang, Padang, Palembang, and Makassar (Ujungpandang), serve as administrative and commercial centers for their respective provinces and, except for Semarang, have only limited international relations.

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