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Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta’s ‘andong’ workshops strive to survive

Wed, April 25, 2018   /   10:09 am
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    Traditional tools: An iron wheel frame needs to be heated constantly during the forging process. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

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    Delicate work: A repairman carefully chisels a wooden wheel. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

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    Waiting line: An andong is being fixed. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

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    Royalty symbols: An andong is waiting to be serviced with an emblem of the Yogyakarta sultanate attached to a wall nearby. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

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    Measuring point: An andong repairmen uses a pencil to put marks on a wheel that is being fixed. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

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    Getting it done: A repairmen prepares to fix another set of wheels. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

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    Standarized: Mass-produced spare wheels are ready for assembly. JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

R. Berto Wedhatama

The andong (horse-drawn carriage) has remained a traditional means of transportation in Yogyakarta.

For its roadworthiness, the andong also requires regular maintenance at a special workshop.

Patalan village in Yogyakarta is an essential destination for andong drivers who want to periodically service their carriage with the help of a punakawan (andong repairman). Repairing carriages is a challenging job because of the difficulty to secure spare parts and increasingly costlier teak wood, the main material of an andong.

Therefore, andong service work is quite expensive, costing between Rp 500,000 (US$35.78) and Rp10 million, or more depending on the extent of the damage. In a month, the workshop is capable of repairing three to five carriages.

The repair job also uses traditional methods, with iron parts being manually re-forged and wooden parts manually handled.

Local blacksmiths and carpenters usually work together to fix a damaged andong. The horses often provide the first signs that an

andong is damaged, as they usually show disobedience to their drivers when they feel the carriage is in need of repair.

Andong workshops are extremely rare nowadays. The work takes a long time, while the number of skilled punakawan has also declined.

Apart from servicing horse-drawn carriages, Patalan’s workshops also receive orders for new andong, which can cost between Rp 30 million and 80 million, depending on the design and materials. The kereta kencana (golden carriage) or kereta

kirab (carnival carriage) models, which are usually reserved for royalty, can reach hundreds of millions of rupiah and take up to three months to complete.