Kotagede is one of districts in Yogyakarta Special Region. Kotagede located in the borders with Bantul regency, in the north, east and south, and at west of Umbulharjo District.
Since ancient times, the natives of Kotagede already had expertise in making various kinds of crafts, ranging from wood crafts, gold and silver. Along with the passage of time, only silver handicrafts making are preserved to this day. No wonder then, this region is known as the largest silver handicraft center in Yogyakarta, whereas also known as the old city. It is the reason whya Kotagede also famous as the city of silver.
The beauty and fineness of silver created by craftsmen in Kotagede is famous into the worldwide. Many foreign tourists are coming into this city only to hunt the silver crafts or jewelry. Moreover, they can also see the making process of silver crafts of jewelry. As the old city, Kotagede until this recently still has 170 old buildings built since 1700 to 1930. Thus, the foreign tourists can also enjoy the beautiful scenery and also unique architecture of the old buildings.
Hunting silver crafts or jewelry while diving into the historical beauty of the city, once become the capital of Mataram kingdom, will certainly provide deeper sensation and aesthetic impression.
KOTAGEDE AS A SILVER CITY
Kotagede as a silver city is not a new thing. The city has been known for its silver-making craft since the 16th century. Initially, the craft of silver making was done to meet the need for jewelry or other equipment for the King and the Palace, as well as royal’s family.
The art of silver making in this city emerged in along with the establishment of the Islamic Mataram kingdom in the 16th century. During the reign of Panembahan Senopati, he had given order to craftmen to make any jewelry made of gold and silver. The development of silver craft in Kotagede then kept increasing during the reign of Sultan Hamengku Buwono VIII. He ordered his palace craftsmen to keep making and develop the art of silver making.
In ancient times, silver handicrafts in Kotagede attracted the attention of many people, domestic and foreign. One day, a trader from the Netherlands came into this town looking for silver crafts. He was looking for silver-made products, all about household items such as European candlesticks, dining and drinking furniture and European-style jewelry with Kotagede traditional motifs.
Since the arrival of a Dutch trader, silver-made product has kept increasing, so the Government of the East Indies Netherlands established a special institution to maintain and improve the quality of silver handicraft making techniques and its marketing development. The established institution was named “Stichting Beverding van het Yogyakarta Kent ambacht”.
In the 1930s-1940s, Kotagede experienced its heyday of the art of silver-making crafts. In the range of 1930-1940s, in this city, there was a lot of emerging silver craft companies. At that time, every company was competing to improve their products quality and create new motifs. Until now, silver handicrafts in Kotagede have proven to have more varied models and motifs by emphasizing a very high artistic value with the characteristic of soft threads.
To this recent, the culture kept preserved, and became its own identity as the old city, the capital of this Mataram kingdom. If you visit this city, you will find that most of Kotagede silver handicrafts patterned dominated with the motifs of plants, such as leaf and lotus flower motifs.
Characteristics owned by this kind of silver crafts maintained for centuries, one of them is from the craftmen’s techniques doing manually, 100% handmade. Since ancient times until today, silver crafts and jewelry in Kotagede still rely on the 100% handmade making process. There are two kind of techniques are usually used by craftmen in making silver products, silver plated crafts or silver filigree craft (a thin silver wire selected one by one and assembled in such a way as to obtain the desired shape). Both are all done with great accuration and attention. Some of them require different processes, for example through the burning process to get burning silver that is also be the favorite ones.
Visiting Kotagede will provide you a lot of interesting experiences. In addition, you can see the rows of old buildings built from the range of the 1700 to 1930. Along the way, you can also see the lining silver handicraft shops on the right and left of the road. Interestingly, you can not only buy a variety of silver crafts of this city, but you can also watch the process of making form beginning into finishing. Even now, you can also learn how to make the silver itself. How to participate in workshop of silver making process is easy, you only need to make reservation first before you are coming.
This silver-making workshop program is deliberately intended for visitors who want to know further about the silver craft itself. To join this workshop program you can make reservation in PT.HSWS, licensing the HS Silver and Omah Dhuwur. This silver company have some silver-making programs, they are consisting of several packages, including Arjuna, Bima, Yudhistira, Nakula, Sadhewa, Sekarjagad and Sidomukti packages .
To participate in the worksop to create silver jewelry creations with simple motifs ring and pendant for duration about 90 to 120 minutes, then you simply take the Arjuna package. If you want to create silver jewelry and also batik making process, then you can take Sekarjagad package for three days. If you want to visit this shinning city because of its history and beautiful silver handicraft, you can directly contact us. We will be pleased to take your tour to this Silver City.