Textile Reorientations: The Manufacture and Trade of Cottons in Java c. 1600–1850

  • Kenneth R. Hall
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)

Abstract

Past Western scholarship assumes that Java underwent ‘underdevelopment’ in the nineteenth century, the Dutch delivering the fatal blow against profitable local textile production with their purposeful marketing of inexpensive European industrial textiles. This chapter reveals how Java’s long-experienced cloth producers successfully outcompeted industrial imports through innovations, particularly labour-saving batik hand stamps that replaced free-hand ‘painting’. Port-based Chinese middlemen provided the stamps, dyes and imported industrial sheeting to household women, and successfully marketed their end-product batik fabrics. This transition further freed rural women from time-consuming weaving and hand-painting to cultivate cash crops. Renewed Javanese hand-stamped batik household production and intermediate quality batik cloth marketing equally revitalized the high-end batik hand craftsmanship of Java’s historical court workshops for elite (including resident Dutch colonialist) and international consumption.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth R. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Ball State UniversityMuncieUSA

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