Sasirangan is a traditional cloth of Banjar tribe society and is commonly used in Banjar indigenous events. The word sasirangan comes from the word “Menyirang”(RedDot TripNusa Indonesia, 2017) which means drawing the patterns, tying with threads and dyeing, until now sasirangan still made manually and become one of the traditional handicraft city of Banjarmasin.
Desy, a student of Primary School Teacher Education, Lambung Mangkurat University, kindly shared her experience and understanding of traditional sasirangan. Historically, the sacred cloth was believed as a means of healing for the sick and protecting from ghosts. Each design of motif has different meanings created by sasirangan artists, and it often follows the will of the buyers.
I was very fortunate to be invited to the sasirangan studio operated by Orie, who is known as one of the best sasirangan designers in the city. From the very first steps of designing and drawing patterns; threading lines with a tiny needle, to dyeing with the mixture of magic powders, the idea is gained that massive effort and patient contributed to creating a special and unique piece of sasirangan.
As the complicated and fussy motif of sasirangan, people in Banjarmasin often purchase it from trusted and professional stores rather than make it themselves. The price is decided depends on the designs, patterns and colour of sasirangan. More complicated, higher the price. Nowadays, people prefer to choose the print version over hand-made one as the price is much cheaper and the colour is more diverse.
According to Desy, she usually wears sasirangan as kebaya, a traditional blouse-dress worn by women in Indonesia, in formal situations. Moreover, most of publics showed up in the anti-smoking event day wore sasirangan as shirts, dresses, etc., to show their recognition and awareness towards the issue.
Sasirangan is often puzzled with Batik, a traditional and famous Javanese technique that creates motif by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a special tool then applying wax resist dyes to allow the designer to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired. Similarly, the diverse patterns of sasirangan and batik are influenced by a variety of cultures and inhabit; both of them are considered to be the intangible heritage of humanity(UNESCO, 2009). Sasirangan was embedded in modern designs in New York fashion week 2017, the collaboration endowed a new meaning to traditional heritage and allowed it to spread world-widely.
Asikbelajar, n.d., Kain Sasirangan: Sejarah, Arti dan Motif, viewed 24 Jan 2018, http://www.asikbelajar.com/2014/04/sasirangan-sejarah-arti-dan-motif.html
RedDot TripNusa Indonesia, 2017, SASIRANGAN “Traditional Clothing” BANJARMASIN South Borneo INDONESIA, Linkdin, viewed 24 Jan 2018, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sasirangan-traditional-clothing-banjarmasin-south-borneo-indonesia
UNESCO, 2009, viewed 24 Jan 2018, http://whc.unesco.org/
Zubedi, V. 2017, New York Fashion Week: First Stage – Runway, gettyimages, viewed 24 Jan 2018, https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/event/indonesian-diversity-september-2017-new-york-fashion-week-first-stage-runway-775037953#model-walks-the-runway-wearing-vivi-zubedi-ss18-during-the-indonesian-picture-id843852562