Thursday, March 22, 2012

Affordable Art with Amir Sidharta | The Jakarta Globe

Insight Indonesia's Lin Neumann interviews Amir Sidharta about affordable art and SIDHartA's Artfordable Auction. View the video in three segments here: Affordable Art with Amir Sidharta | The Jakarta Globe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Selection of Items from the David B. Smith Collection

Here is a selection of the items from the David B. Smith Collection that will be auctioned at the SIDHartA Auctioneer Tempo Doeloe auction, at the Bali Art Center, Jl. Nusa Indah, Denpasar, this Sunday, 11 March 2012, starting at 1:30 pm.

For the e-catalog, please visit:



Chest (grobog)

East Java | 19th century | teak wood | h: 97cm, w: 185cm, d: 85cm

These three chests mix geometric and natural patterns with flair. Unusually, the geometric decoration on the upper half of the chest is divided into two identical halves featuring a lattice-work pattern. The skirt above the wheels features a row of leaves, probably those of the betel plant, with halo-like outlines.

Publ: JAFFA , p. 260 - iv.07


Cabinet | East Java | 19th century | teak wood | 133 x 90 x 50cm

While the close connection between traditional Javanese architecture and furniture is irrefutable. The solid rectangular dimensions of this country cabinet are enluvened by vigorous carving and color forming two pairs of stylised birds on the top and bottom of each of the doors.

Publ: JAFFA , p. 109 - i.41


Cabinet | East Java | 19th century | teak wood | h: 145 cm, w: 145 cm, d: 58 cm

The doors and sides of this cabinet, dated 1878, feature tree-of-life motifs formed by luxuriant meandering green leaves against a red background. Stylised vulvas or seeds, symbols of fertility, are seen at the base of their trunks. Publ: JAFFA , p. 74 - i.02



East Java | 19th century | wood | h: 175 cm, w: 110 cm, d: 47cm

With minimal detail, two naga dragons, with what appears to be aquatic birds on their backs, bite on a central disc. The carving on the front doors is reminiscent of that of several cabinets seen on the previous pages. Publ: JAFFA , p. 112 - i.55


Massive Kitchen Cabinet (lemari dapur) | wood | Ponorogo, East Java | 19th century | h: 147 cm, w: 85 cm, d: 70 cm Featuring a crenellated upper rim, this rustic country pantry can be compared to traditional rice barns. The long legs, which raise it high above the ground, are intended to prevent vermin from stealing the food inside. The black patina was caused by soot from the kitchen fire. Publ: JAFFA , p. 110 - i.42


Massive Teakwood Cabinet with Square Wheels

East Java | 19th century | teak wood | h: 146 cm , w: 92 cm, d: 60 cm

Under normal circumstances, the rustic, rough-hewn cabinets of Ponorogo are impressive for their raw power. Publ: JAFFA , p. 111 - i.45


Loro Bionyo | Ponorogo, East Java | left: 28 x28 x 52 cm | right: 27 x 39 x 55 cm | Late 18th or early 19th century This wedding effigy statues of East Java’s petty aristoctracy and landed gentry are usually far more vigorous and less refined. The male reperesents Mas Sadono, sits cross-legged (padma asana), wearing a batik long cloth. His wife, Dewi Sri, wears a kamben breast cloth that exposes her shoulders, which are stained yellow from the application of turmeric powder. The figures’ torsos are elongated with narrow waists bound by wide belts with elaborate belt buckle, creating an hour-glass shape. Both wear Hindu-inspired necklace. Their mask-like white faces and large ears, a sign of wisdom, mirror the height of their position an class. Publ: JAFFA , p. 140 - ii.01


Room Divider | East Java | wood | h: 222cm, w: 207 cm , d: 45cm

Shaped like triptychs of cathedral windows, these remarkable room dividers were also believed to have magical protective powers, not unlike the aling-aling walls of Balinese temples. This belief is also revealed in the imagery. Publ: JAFFA , p. 176 - ii.75


Large Chest (grobog)

Ponorogo, East Java | 19th century | teak wood | h: 85cm, w: 200cm, d: 93cm

The rigorous, almost three-dimensional carving on these chests exemplifies a style that developed in the Ponorogo region in the second half of the 19th century. There is a tree of life with meandering lianas and spiky leaves. The skirts undulate. Unlike most grobog, the` chests are opened not by simply lifting the lids (usually made of one piece of wood) but by lifting one of several planks held by the framed tops. .

Publ: JAFFA, p. 268 - iv. 15


Large Java Primitive Cabinet

Carved of Massive | teak wood | Ponorogo, East Java | 19th century | 100 x 55 x 191 cm

Such example is extremely rare statement of the stark and powerful aesthetics of the East Javanese countryside. Publ: JAFFA, p. 110 - i. 43



Central or East Java | 19th century | teak wood | h: 177cm, w: 111cm, d: 46cm

The pediment carving, doors, frames and apron of this small cabinet come alive with luxuriant meandering foliage that is covered in gold leaf. Diamond lozenges with lotus flowers are featured on the two low drawers and the sides.

Publ: JAFFA , p. 127 - i.61

Tempo Doeloe Auction 11 March 2012 | Selected Items

Here is a selection of the items that will be auctioned at the SIDHartA Auctioneer Tempo Doeloe auction, at the Bali Art Center, Jl. Nusa Indah, Denpasar, this Sunday, 11 March 2012, starting at 1:30 pm.

For the e-catalog, please visit:




[caption id="attachment_358" align="aligncenter" width="268" caption="lot 37"][/caption]


Pair of Palace Cabinets, 19th century

Featuring the primordial naga dragons of Java’s ancient mythology, this refined pair of cabinets is noteworthy not only for its fine carving, gold leaf and cinnabar but also by the presence of the original tables upon which they rest. In most cases these are lost.

[caption id="attachment_359" align="aligncenter" width="137" caption="lot 38"][/caption]


Ritual Throne or Batik Table (Madura or East Java) 19th century

One of the primary tasks of Javanese princesses was the manufacture of fine batik sarongs, long cloths, scarves and head-cloths.  Elevated tables with a throne-like back featuring a crossbar for hanging the cloth being worked upon and carving usually featuring a pair of primordial naga dragons were used for drawing the wax designs. These tables were also used as throne backs that can be traced back to Hindu-Buddhist art.

[caption id="attachment_356" align="aligncenter" width="168" caption="lot 53"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_357" align="aligncenter" width="154" caption="lot 56"][/caption]

053, 056

Wedding Effigy Figures (loro blonyo), Ponorogo Region, East Java, 19th century

The carving and placement of male-female figures (loro blonyo) representing the bride and groom as Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice, and Mas Sadono, an incarnation of Vishnu, were an essential part of the wedding rituals of Javanese royalty well into the 20thcentury. Associated with fertility and the ancestors, the figures were placed in special altar beds and received regular offerings to ensure harmony and prosperity. A latter day version of the ancestor figures of the Austronesians, the loro blonyo of the more sophisticated Javanese palaces were refined and beautiful. These vigorous rough hewn pairs are rare examples of the same tradition practiced in the hinterlands of East Java.

[caption id="attachment_350" align="aligncenter" width="161" caption="lot 57"][/caption]


Impressive Palace Cabinet (lemari kraton), 19th century

With minimal use of color and touches of gold leaf, this stately cabinet still displays its original hardware.

[caption id="attachment_351" align="aligncenter" width="270" caption="lot 58"][/caption]


Storage Chest from a single piece of teakwood (palungan) 19th century

Palungan are one of the oldest forms of furniture in Java. Carved from the trunk of a single teakwood tree, their sliding lids are fixed with wooden pins. Used for the storage of family heirlooms, like this example, they often feature ancient motifs with now forgotten magical symbols.

[caption id="attachment_352" align="aligncenter" width="211" caption="lot 059"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_355" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="lot 62"][/caption]


Village Headman’s Adminstrative Table (meja lurah) 19th century

Often made of a single large slab of teakwood with turned legs, meja lurah were designed to mirror the importance of the administrative head (lurah) who used them. Based on Dutch baroque tables, over the years they would be infused with Javanese style.

[caption id="attachment_353" align="aligncenter" width="173" caption="lot 60"][/caption]


Magnificent Pair of Kraton Cabinets (lemari keraton), 19th century

Profusely and finely carved with naga dragons, and floral scenes further enhanced by cinnabar and gold leaf, this matching pair of cabinets was probably made in the vicinity of Solo, Central Java and used in a major palace. Examples of this quality and beauty are rare.

[caption id="attachment_354" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="lot 61"][/caption]


Javanese Chest with Floral Carving, Original fittings, goldleaf, 19th century

[caption id="attachment_348" align="aligncenter" width="188" caption="lot 63"][/caption]


Pair of Palace Book Cases (lemari buku kraton) from Kota Gede circa 1920

This rare and beautiful pair of bookcases are masterpieces of a Baroque royal style that prevailed in Kota Gede, the royal city just south of Jogjakarta. In perfect condition except for the missing glass panes they feature the sumptuous use of gold leaf, cinnabar and natural green pigments.

[caption id="attachment_349" align="aligncenter" width="270" caption="lot 64"][/caption]


Striking Ritual Bed (ranjang), East Java, 19th century

The stark and beautiful lines of this striking bed is a fine example of the impressive rustic style custom made for the wealthy landowners of East Java’s interior.