Blangkon is headgear of Javanese men. Blangkon is a ready-to-wear head band made of batik. There is no record in history about this fashion. There was a legend about Ajisoko and he wore headband. By his headband he could defeat Dewata Cengkar, a giant ruled Java. Ajisoko was later known as the creator of Javanese calendar.
There are few theories about blankon that was influenced by Hindu and Islam culture. According to experts, Moslem visited Java were from China and Gujarat. THe Gujarat traders were Arab descendants and they wore headband called Sorban, long and wide fabric. This sorban inspired Javanese to wear headdress.
Other theory said that in the past headband was worn and wrapped manually. But as there was war crisis, that fabric was hard to get, therefore keraton officials asked artists to create headgear with more economical fabric and later called as blangkon.
In the past, blangkon was only made by expert artists with standard quality and design. A culture expert, Becker made a research about the making of blangkon that took a skill called as virtuso skill. He stated that “That an object is useful, that it required virtuso skill to make –neither of these precludes it from also thought beautiful. Some craft generete from within their own tradition a feeling for beauty and with it appropriate aesthetic standards and common of taste”.
The beauty of blangkon was seen from the standard quality and depends on the taste determined by social standards. The standards was not only prevail the crafter but also the wearer. Becker wrote that “By accepting beauty as a criterion, participants in craft activities on a concern characteristic of the folk definition of art. That definition includes an emphasis on beauty as typified in the tradition of some particular art, on the traditions and concerns of the art world itself as the source of value, on expression of someone’s thoughts and feelings, and on the relative freedom of artist from outside interference with the work”.
Blangkon is made of headband with rectangle and square, usually around 105 cm x 105 cm. Only half of the size used for blangkon. Blangkon size was taken from the distance between left and right ear through forehead and upper-head. Generally, 48 is the smallest and the biggest is 59. There are 2 types of blangkon, blangkon with bulge on its back and blangkon without bulge. Blangkon with bulge is Yogyakarta style and the buldge was hair tied up with the headband, as in the past men had long hair. Blangkon without buldge is Surakarta style, and this was modified from Yogyakarta style as today most of men have short hair. This type was crafted by sewing mondolan (buldge) at the back of blangkon. Beside Javanese, other ethnics in Indonesia also wear headband resembles Javanese blangkon such as Madura, Balinese, and others. Only each headband has different standard.