When we first collected furniture in the early 1980s, there was still a great deal of pre-World War II material available. As these pieces were bought out, the local dealers and workshops began to restore damaged pieces using old wood. Plain chests had designs carved into the original panels. Old paint was stripped off for the markets that preferred the look of stained, tropical hardwood and new, brighter oil and acrylic colors added for the markets that liked the folk art look.
Unfortunately, a great deal of traditional, lovely color went down the drain. In Surabaya, the stripping is done on the street in front of the workshops and the paint solvents and paint run down along the street gutters. Once we went back to buy an immense blue wooden fish from Madura, only to find that it had not only been sold, but all the color stripped off to expose the hardwood, which was being stained and oiled before shipment to Europe.
It is rare now to find older examples of the more popular types of furniture in Indonesia itself. The workshops are hand-crafting reproductions based on traditional styles. The colonial European-style blue food safe with spindles is an example of this, as is the blue bench. Newer pieces are still made by hand with the customary Indonesian attention to decorative detail.
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Artifacts on this site were collected in the field by my husband, Ron Perry. I take the photographs, do the html, text and maps. Background in Who We Are. Art-Pacific has been on the WWW since 1996. We hope you enjoy our New Guinea tribal art and Indonesian folk art as much as we do.
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