A trip to Indonesia is a complete travel experience like no other. You can enjoy its jaw-dropping natural wonders, discover its mesmerizing cultural and historical heritage, gorge on its scrumptious variation of food, and shop for gifts and souvenirs to bring back home.
Luckily, Indonesia is home to delightfully unique handicrafts and artworks, ranging from furniture, carvings, and home decorations to traditional fabrics, ornaments, and accessories, which represent the characteristics of different regions. Below are some well-known handicrafts from Indonesia that will grab your attention:
1 | Batik Solo, Surakarta
Batik, an intricately-designed Indonesian fabric, is definitely something not to be missed when you visit Indonesia. Known as the home of Indonesian batik, Solo produces court batik, which uses sogan (chocolate brown) on a pale yellow background. Some of the most popular motifs of Batik Solo are Batik Parang, Batik Kawung, Batik Sidomukti, Batik Truntum, Batik Satrio Manah, and Batik Semen Rante.
There are some popular batik-based tourist destinations in Solo that you can visit, such as the Klewer Market, a textile market with a bewildering array of inexpensive batik, and the Laweyan village, offering various high-quality types of batik.
2 | Wayang Kulit ,Yogyakarta
Recognized by UNESCO, Wayang (puppet), one of the greatest storytelling traditions of the world, is yet another pride of Indonesia. There are many types of puppets found throughout Indonesia, but in general, they are classified into two types: Wayang Golek, a wooden puppet from West Java, and Wayang Kulit, a leather puppet or shadow puppet from Java, especially Yogyakarta.
Traditionally, these puppets are made of buffalo or goat leather. Once the leather has been moistened and dried, a design is made on it and then the skin is cut accordingly. This complex manufacturing process is entirely done by hand. You can take a wayang tour in the Wukirsari Village, which is located in Bantul, Yogyakarta.
3 | Silver craft, Yogyakarta
Another handicraft that you can bring home from Yogyakarta is silver crafts. The assimilation of Javanese culture into Hindu society gives a unique charm to the silver handicrafts from Yogyakarta, especially the Kotagede area. These silver handicrafts include rings, brooches, horse carts, miniature bicycles, earrings, rickshaws, calluses, and other decorations.
The most popular area for silver crafts shopping in Yogyakarta is Kotagede. Kotagede silver crafts usually feature plant, leaf, and lotus motifs. The production of these handicrafts requires skilled craftsmanship.
4 | Ceramics, Klaten
The unique and impressive ceramic decorations of Klaten Regency have brought this area into the limelight. In the southern region of Klaten, there is a sub-district area called Bayat, which has developed a reputation for using slanted rotation techniques to produce ceramics and pottery products, ranging from patterned jars, animal-shaped ceramic pottery, and human statues to cooking furnaces.
5 | Rattan Handicrafts, Semarang
With its aesthetic appeal giving a contemporary edge to your homes, rattan has been making a comeback in recent years. Semarang is the ultimate choice if you’re looking for the best rattan handicrafts for home décor. Here, you can find a variety of high-quality products, ranging from household items, such as chairs, tables, and room dividers, to souvenirs, such as wallets, bags, mats, and lampshades. The most well-known center of rattan handicrafts in Semarang is Kampung Krabatan. Their products have also been sold worldwide, especially to Europe.
Once you set foot in Bali, you will find various sculptures and wood carvings scattered across the island as they are inseparable from the daily lives of the Balinese people. Wood carving, an ancient art form of Bali, is an important part of shrines and houses and is also used as displays or souvenirs.
Typical Balinese wood carvings are made of teak, moja echo, and chrysolite wood, and feature a unique combination of floral, fruit, and leaf motifs having beautiful convex and concave shapes. One of the most famous wood carving centers in Bali is Desa Mas, located about 6 km south of Ubud, Bali.
Many communities in Sumba villages have dedicated their lives to weave Tenun Ikat, one of Indonesia’s most well-known fabrics. This vibrant handicraft features unique motifs and different symbols. A popular shop that tourists like to go to buy this stunning handicraft is Pasar Inpres Matawai in Waingapu City, a part of East Sumba.
Whether you’re obsessed with handicrafts and artworks or are simply looking for authentic souvenirs and keepsakes to bring home from your trip to Indonesia, these famous handicraft centers will surely fulfill your shopping desires!
Solo: Elegance and Culture in Java's Ancient Kingdom
5 Batik-inspired DIY Home Decor Ideas
Trusmi Batik Village
7 Enchanting Stories behind Indonesia’s Famous Batik
The Riveting WAYANG KULIT SHADOW PUPPET SHOWS of Java and Bali