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The craft of Indonesia vary in both medium and style. As a whole the people are artistic by nature and express themselves with canvas and paint, wood, metal, clay and stone. Indonesian artists create some of the finest wood-carvings to be found anywhere in the world. Paintings of an infinite variety, both traditional and contemporary, are to be found all over the country. The silverwork and engravings of Yogyakarta and Sumatra, and filigree of South Sulawesi are famous throughout Indonesia.


The batik process of waxing and dycing originated in Java centuries ago and classic designs have been modified with modern trends in both pattern and technology. There are several batik centers on Java, the major ones being Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Pekalongan and Cirebon. Batik is also being produced in Bali, where local designs are incorporated. Artists in West Sumatra and Kalimantan produce hand-woven cloths with gold and silver threads, silk, and cotton of fantastically intricate design. On the islands of Sumba and Flores you can find the traditional ikat, a type of weaving with hand-dyed threads.


Indonesia is an art-collector’s and handicraft shopper’s paradise, and you will probably end up buying an extra suitcase just to pack all your treasures home with you.