If you are an admirer of silver handicrafts, Kotagede is the correct destination! From the city of Yogyakarta, you can continue the journey to the south and find the vibrant silver city in the history and the birthplace of the craftsmen silver.
The Historical Story That Never Ends
Kotagede is the name of a sub-district located in Yogyakarta and well known as “Silver City.” A long time ago, before 1952, Kotagede was the Mataram kingdom capital. Then the Mataram kingdom is dividing into 2 kingdoms, namely Surakarta and the Yogyakarta Sultanate. The Mataram kingdom former is still visible in Kotagede till present, even the main attraction for this region as a tourist destination.
Structuring the old town planning in Java implemented in this area by placing strategic places them close together. You can visit the grand mosque, King’s Tomb, Legi Market, and the village of Alun-Alun (Between Two Gates) in one reach. Then, you can walk down the small hallway, and there are many unique Indische house buildings in Kotagede. One more, you have to visit the silver gallery, which is on the edge of Kotagede street.
The Birth of Silver Craftsmen
The Mataram kingdom’s existence in antiquity would affect the people of Kotagede, mainly silver craft here. Initially, the people of Kotagede make silver craft for kingdom needs, which then hereditary until now. This history makes Kotagede the birthplace of creative human beings as silver craftsmen.
Many silver craftsmen born from this place doesn’t mean all is well, there face many challenges. The increasing sophistication of modern times, the less well the next generation of craftsmen. The detailed silver crafts process requires accuracy and patience, the silver must be melted down again if there is a mistake.
Kotagede’s Silver Products
Previously during the Mataram kingdom, the craft produced by craftsmen in Kotagede was a craft for the empire such as gold, silver, and metal. So the economy in Kotagede continued to grow until finally came a trader from the Netherlands who ordered cutlery, trophies, ashtrays, candles, napkins, and jewelry with European motifs. Since that time, silver has become popular.
Silver products in Kotagede also had a crisis that caused the marketing continues to decline. The craftsmen began to innovate by making silver a souvenir. Various handicrafts are sale in galleries today, ranging from rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, spoons, forks, teapots, jars, silver bags, sculptures, miniatures, brooches, wall hangings, carved helmets, and many more.
Kotagede’s silver is sold domestically and abroad. There are many art shops along the Kotagede roadside if you visit this city. Meanwhile, overseas marketing with online and export. Uniquely, these craftsmen also receive special orders according to the wishes of the buyer. For example, an amazing engraved hard hat.
This product is hand made. Manual processes are still done to maintain the aesthetic value of each product produced to date. The work that deserves appreciation, because it’s made wholeheartedly and through a complicated process.