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    King's Batiks Exhibition

    The King’s Batiks
    As featured in HALI 199, Spring 2019

    Between 1871 and 1901, King Chulalongkorn of Siam (Thailand) visited the Indonesian island of Java three times. On each occasion he sought out, acquired and documented a large number of cotton batik textiles, of which 307 constitute the collection now under the care of the Bureau of the Royal Household.

    This previously unknown and unseen collection,is the theme of a new , highly significant exhibition at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in the Grand Palace, Bangkok
    King Chulalongkorn’s natural curiosity, knowledge of Southeast Asian history and religion, and interest in both indigenous culture and western technological advances made him an active participant in his tours, not merely a passive observer. Over the course of his three trips he noted in his diaries much about both European and Javanese ways of doing things and recognised the shared cultural heritage of Thais and Javanese. Fortunately, the king also developed a love for the art of batik, leading to his desire to create a collection that displays the remarkable diversity of this quintessentially Javanese art form. In this he amply succeeded, leaving future generations an extraordinary legacy.

    This images and descriptions are drawn from the exhibition catalogue, A Royal Treasure: Javanese Batik from the Collection of King Chulalongkorn of Siam, by Dale Carolyn Gluckman, Sarttarat Muddin, Judi Achjadi and Sandra Niessen [In Press]. Information on the batiks is adapted from Judi Achjadi’s descriptive texts. The exhibition is on view at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Grand Palace, Bangkok until 31 May 2021

    Please see www.qsmtthailand.org for details.


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    Majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd

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