Getting batik in Yogya is easy. There are more than enough batik shops to choose from, not to mention the artisan workshops scattered around the city. Sometimes the choice can be daunting, especially for out-of-towners who only have few hours to shop before leaving. We’ll end up going to big name stores just because they are easier to reach, while forgoing the opportunity to learn a little bit more about our national heritage from people who know batik the most.
On my last visit to Yogya, I was lucky to meet an antique batik collector who took us to Ibu Marsiyah, his favorite place to buy antique batik or lawasan. Although she has a store at Pasar Beringharjo, Ibu Marsiyah also opens her house to customers. She welcomes us with big smile and greets us in kromo Javanese. Upon entering her house, you will see piles and piles of batik clothing on the floor. There are two big armoires in her living room where she stores kain batik; the one closer to the door is for the moderately priced ones, while the other one is for the better quality or older kain.
The way to shop at Ibu Marsiyah’s is to let her (or her helpful assistants) know what you’re looking for, and they will bring piles of batik for you to choose from. You’re also welcome to take bundles of kain out of the armoires. Shopping at Ibu Marsiyah is like diving into some relative’s treasure trove of batik, as she lets you open and tried out everything while she helpfully answers any question you have. Don’t worry if you can’t remember which armoire the kain came from, because she recognizes every piece of kain she sells so she won’t mixed up the price.
Although Ibu Marsiyah also sells many clothing articles made of batik lawasan, I especially enjoy her exquisite collection of kain. Since we went there with a collector, we got to see and feel the high quality antique batik. Even for someone who understands nothing about kain like me, I can see that some of the antique batik have beautiful patterns or color. To be honest, I didn’t buy anything at Ibu Marsiyah. I couldn’t find any clothing that fits me (except for daster, but I don’t need more of those), and a friend snatched a kain I wanted, but I know for sure I want to go back there someday. Hopefully with enough money so I can buy the beautiful batik lawasan to start my own collection.
The price for kain is from Rp. 200,000 – 500,000 while the better quality ones ranges from Rp. 1 – 5 million. The shirt, blouse and dress (daster) ranges from Rp. 50,000 – 200,000. She will insist that everything is fix price since it’s already cheaper than prices at Pasar Beringharjo, but she is likely to give discount if you buy many items. She often participates in batik exhibitions, so likely you can find her at the next Inacraft.
PS: Pardon the crappy pictures. I borrowed a friend’s fancy camera and now I know that I should just stick to pocket digicam
Suryodiningratan Mj II/708