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HASS6 INDONESIA: Traditional Clothing

Traditional Dress


All About The Traditional Dress of Indonesia

INDONESIA has always attracted the foreigners, adventurers and tourists fromthe lovely planet for its immense beauty in culture, nature, geography, bio-diversity and people. The indigenous people’s interaction with the people coming from multiple regions from time to time has produced a really rich, magnificent and diverse heritage of the country. Indonesia is a huge populous country having the population around 237.6 million and there are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia. 95% of those are of Native Indonesian ancestry. Javanese is the biggest one with 100 million people (42%), followed by Sundanese who amount to nearly 40 million (15%).


If we say, Indonesia is a land of traditional performing arts, it might not be wrong. There is spectacular music having variation in region to region, folk-dances full of amusement and colors, fascinating drama and theater activities, glorious martial arts and brilliant puppet festivals. In all of such festivities, one factor is very common and prominent and that is the traditional dress of Indonesia. There are tremendous varieties in the traditional outfits and costumes of Indonesia, as every territory has its own and distinctive clothing culture.

Kebaya is the national dress of Indonesia. Kebaya is a combination of different traditional clothing of Indonesia like BatikSarong, songket and ikat. The dress was originated from Java and Bali where it was traditionally woven with magnificent patterns.

Indonesian women wearing traditional Kebaya outfits – Image by Jamieson Teo

Today, the fashion designers of Indonesia have brought tremendous changes in Kebaya. Usually Kebaya is liked made with lace brocade and prepared with floral patterns either printed or woven into the textile and its length can fall somewhere from above the waist to below the knee. It usually, but not always, has long sleeves. It is usually fastened at the front, and if not, then gives a semblance of doing so. Some variations of the kebaya will use a batik sash, which is coordinated with the kain, draped over the shoulder as an added accessory.

Tanjak which is called by some people as Setanjak, is actually a head wrap cloth usually worn by the Indonesian men. It is a long folded garment with magnificent embroidery and considered as a typical formal clothing accessory. In the wedding ceremonies the grooms wear Tanjak with pride.

Blangkon is also popular traditional headdress among the Indonesian menwhich is made of batik fabric. Some people think that Blangkons are believed to derive from turbans worn by Gujarati traders.

The tribal women of Sulawesi in Indonesia traditionally wear a rectangular and short-sleeved outfit which is usually popular in bright red and orange colors. This is known as Baju Bodo and is one of the oldest attires of Indonesia.

Traditional Batik fabric is very symbolic in the Indonesian clothing culture. It is most significant in Javanese rituals where Batik garments are worn in mythical ceremonies such as the ceremonial casting of royal batik into a volcano. The Javanese people prepare Batik with natural materials like cotton, beeswax and plants from which different vegetable dyes are made. Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called acanting or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a tjap.


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