We visited a fascinating silver factory in Kotagede district of Yogyakarta.
Kotagede silversmiths grew since the establishment of Kotagede as the capital of Mataram. During that time, the traditional silver, gold and copper industries began to develop, dominated by the use of repoussé (embossing) techniques. The products of this region were to fulfill the need of household and ceremonial equipment for the royal family. During the colonial period of the 1930s, silverworks and silver handicrafts prospered in Kotagede. The Dutch colonial government established the Stichting Beverding van het Yogyakarta Kent Ambacht to protect the silverwork of Kotagede. Filigree technique enters Kotagede around 1950 under the influence of craftsmen from Kendari, Sulawesi. According to local silversmiths, Sastro Dimulyo with his company “SSO” was the pioneer for introducing filigree technique in Kotagede.
Kotagede’s silverware is characterized with its floral motifs, e.g. leaf or lotus flower, based from the Hindu tradition; and their manual labor, kept historically authentic. Types of silverware produced by Kotagede are filigrees, silver-casting, sculptures (miniatures), and handmade products (necklaces, rings). Jalan Kemasan, the main street leading into town from the north, is lined with silver workshops selling hand-beaten bowls, boxes, fine filigree and modern jewellery.
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