what is batik?

Batik is a pride of Indonesia, in the form of textile art. The process includes using dye-resistant wax (via a ‘canting’) to leave certain areas un-dyed, as they go through the dyeing process. ‘Batik tulis’ is the most expensive kind of batik, as it is hand drawn and have unsurpassed quality. Additionally, there is wax stamps and more contemporary versions of using dye-resistant wax. The dye is also usually imported and synthetic. However, many artisans are going back to traditional methods through making dye from plants.

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where does batik come from?

The roots of batik are ancient and have no stable origin. Similar methods may have been discovered at the exact same time in many places in the world, but certainly, it was in Java islands where batik was the most highly devloped true art from. Batik has influences from it’s own country alongside neighbouring countries.

Also known to have historical significance in Japan, China, Thailand, Europe and India’s textile workings.


many religions have also influenced the creation of batik.

The three major religions that have to be credited for the high variety of existing batik is Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Design elements used in batik are found in both Buddhist and Hindu temples – the lotus was found in Borobudur, and the interlocking and intersecting circular designs (kawung) was found in the late Hindu temples of east Java.

who wears batik?

In the olden eras, batik was an indicator of a class. As there was certain type of batiks that were only worn by sultans, nobles, and royal people. Historically, it was essential for ceremonial costumes and it was worn as part of a kebaya dress commonly worn every day.

The textile has become a strong source of identity for Indonesians crossing religious, racial and cultural boundaries.

Now it is only used for festivals and big events, companies and offices have also promoted the use of batik every Friday.

today’s batik artisans.

Many batik artisans continue to be glooming today with their own unique style of batik.

There are people (like Abdul Syukur), who embrace their Arabic roots and continue to follow on with traditional patterns and motifs.

Some artisans (Nuri Hidayati) combine traditional style of batik with contemporary or foreign designs, such as the Japanese Shibori tiedye.

Collectives often use naturally inspired batik from plants and historical sites.

There is even installation artists (Ismoyo and Nia) that produce batik exhibitions, exploring the translucence of wax.


most common type of batik?

A ‘sarong’ is usually 180cms long and sewn together at the ends.

A ‘dodot’ is made by sewing two lengths of batik together and often indicates royalty.


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