Sasirangan

It is believed that the process of making Sasirangan in Indonesia started in around the 12th to 14th Century, during the period of Lambung Mangkurat in the Kingdom of Dipa, South Kalimantan. In the 16th Century, Sasirangan was known as Kain Pamintan, or Kain Permintaan, which was a specifically designed cloth made to request. The requested design and cloth were made with the guide of a traditional healer, meant to recuperate in spiritual ceremonies. Not everybody was allowed to take part in the process of making this requested cloth; only Shamans, special ones who were believed to have ability to cast out evil spirits, were allowed to make Kain Pamintan. As in today’s pharmacies, shaman prescribed special patterns and colors exclusively for each customers. Each patterns, such as dragons, bamboo shoots, rock and waves had particular significance. Frequently used colors were green, red, yellow, and purple. Sasirangan was believed to have special power to protect also. Babies and children were clothed in Sasirangan to keep them from diseases. Later, shamans’ existence began to fade when pharmaceuticals arrived in South Kalimantan. To protect this local art form, local women started to revive Sasirangan in the 1980s. Many Sasirangan shirts and blouses were made available to public for everyday uses. This revival resulted in the birth of hundreds of small home industries since no special or heavy equipment is required.

The word Sasirangan derives from a verb menyirang, meaning “to stitch together”. It explains the process: stitching, binding, and dipping. The method in making Sasirangan is similar to that in Javanese Batik, which is a barrier coloring process. What differs it is that Sasirangan uses barrier cloth such as  rope or yarn instead of wax and canting. The artist would stitch the pre-made patterns on clothes, then bind with rope to avoid contamination with other colors, and dip them in dyes. Traditionally, natural dyes were used for colors; turmeric roots were used to create yellow, karabintang fruit and areca nut to make red and brown colors, etc. Today chemical dye is more commonly used. This coloring process is called Pewarnaan Rintang, or color blockage. The last step is removing the stitches and natural pattern would appear on clothes. One can not create an exact pattern because of the manual process. Unlike Javanese batik printing, mass production of Sasirangan is not possible either. Productions of simple Sasirangan can take about 4 days and the complex ones require few months to finish. Today people wear Sasirangan for blankets, sarongs, everyday clothes, and many.

Few of common Sasirangan designs are:

  1. Iris Pudak
  2. Kambang Raja
  3. Bayam Raja
  4. Kulit Kurikit
  5. Ombak Sinapur Karang
  6. Bintang Bahambur
  7. Sari Gading
  8. Kulit Kayu
  9. Naga Balimbur
  10. Jajumputan
  11. Turun Dayang
  12. Kambang Tampuk Manggis
  13. Daun Jaruju
  14. Kangkung Kaombakan
  15. Sisik Tanggiling
  16. Kambang Tanjung

References:

  • Eliot, J., Capaldi, L., & Bickersteth, J. (2001). Indonesia Handbook, 3rd vol, p. 624.
  • Ferdinan. (2011, January 3). Wayang Banjar. Etniprogresif Seni Budaya Kalimantan. Retrieved February 14, 2011 from http://etnikprogresif.blogspot.com/2011/01/wayang-banjar.html
  • Tawang, A. (2010, January 30). Sasirangan The Souvenir from South Kalimantan. Indonesia Tourism. Retrieved February 14, 2011 from http://indonesietourism.blogspot.com/2010/01/sasirangan-souvenir-from-south.html