Batik is generally thought of as the most quintessentially Indonesian textile. Motifs of flowers, twinning plants, leaves buds, flowers, birds, butterflies, fish, insects and geometric forms are rich in symbolic association and variety; there are about three thousand recorded batik patterns.
The patterns to be dyed into the the clothe are drawn with a canting, a wooden 'pen' fitted with a reservoir for hot, liquid wax. In batik workshops, circles of women sit working at clothes draped over frames, and periodically replenish their supply of wax by dipping their canting into a central vat. Some draw directly on the the cloth from memory; others wax over faint charcoal lines.
This method of drawing patterns in wax on fine machine-woven cotton was practiced as a form of meditation by the female courtiers of Central Java; traditionally, batik tulis (tulis means 'write' in Indonesian) is produced by women.
In the 19th century, the application of waxed patterns with a large copper stamp orcap saved the batik industry from competition with cheap printed European cloth. The semi-industrial nature of cap work allows it to be performed by men. Batik motifs recall characters from the Hindu epics, plants, animals, sea creatures and gamalan melodies.
The Process of Batik Making
Batik, in Javanese means 'To Dot'. Basically there are two kinds of batik; Batik Tulis (hand drawn) and Batik Cap (stamped). The price of batik tulis is much more expensive than batik cap.
A canting (a pen like instrument with a small reservoir of liquid wax) is applied to the cloth of batik tulis making. The tracing of the desired design on to the prepared cloth is the first stage of making followed by the technique of applying wax and dye substances. At the final stage of the process, all the wax scraped off and the cloth boiled to remove all traces of the wax. This process of repeatedly waxing and dyeing is the batik process, used until nowadays in Java and other parts of Indonesia.
So, this kind art of batik is an indigenous to the country. The wax used in batik process is a combined product of paraffin, bees-wax, plant resins called gondorukem and mata kucing.
Batik cap, which is also using the waxing process, its process of course faster and easier. But people appreciation of batik tulis is higher, it is really a work of an artist not only a craftsman. It combines the expertise, patience, deep feeling to produce the finest product, and it may take days, weeks and even months to make only a batik tulis
The Cities of Batik
Yogyakarta and Solo are the centers of traditional of batiks, as the north coastal town of Pekalongan is the center of more modern batiks, using more floral and birds motifs. There are some well-known artists of batik design in Yogya and Solo, as well as some big batik manufacturers with famous trademarks.
The growing production of batik makes way to the establishment of mori (woven cotton fabrics) factories in Yogya and Central Java. The Batik research Institute was founded in Yogya.
The Symbolic Meaning of Batik's Motifs
The motifs of Batik, especially with old pattern, as in other field of Javanese tradition are symbolizing something. Might be, this is one of the reasons, why people still adore batik up to present date. Some of the motifs are :
1. Sido Mulyo :
Sido (you should be ), mulyo (happy). Symbolizing 'you should be happy and rich man'.
2. Sido Dadi :
Symbolizing 'you should be a man/woman as you wish (prosperous, high ranking position, wealthy, etc)'.
3. Satrio Wibowo :
Symbolizing 'Man with dignity'.
4. Tikel Asmorodono :
Tikel (more), Asmoro (love), Dono (gift).
It is meant the one who wears this batik, should be loved more and more by others.
Although there are thousands of different batik designs, particular designs have traditionally been associated with traditional festivals and specific religious ceremonies. Previously, it was thought that certain cloth had mystical powers to ward off ill fortune, while other pieces could bring good luck.
Kawung is another very old design consisting of intersecting circles, known in Java since at least the thirteenth century. This design has appeared carved into the walls of many temples throughout Java such as Prambanan near Jogjakarta and Kediri in East Java. For many years, this pattern was reserved for the royal court of the Sultan of Jogjakarta. The circles are sometimes embellished inside with two or more small crosses or other ornaments such as intersecting lines or dots. It has been suggested that the ovals might represent flora such as the fruit of the kapok (silk cotton) tree or the aren (sugar palm).
Ceplok is a general name for a whole series of geometric designs based on squares, rhombs, circles, stars, etc. Although fundamentally geometric, ceplok can also represent abstractions and stylization of flowers, buds, seeds and even animals. Variations in color intensity can create illusions of depth and the overall effect is not unlike medallion patterns seen on Turkish tribal rugs. The Indonesian population is largely Muslim, a religion that forbids the portrayal of animal and human forms in a realistic manner. To get around this prohibition, the batik worker does not attempt to express this matter in a realistic form. A single element of the form is chosen and then that element is repeated again and again in the pattern.
Parang was once used exclusively by the royal courts of Central Java. It has several suggested meanings such as 'rugged rock', 'knife pattern' or 'broken blade'. The Parang design consists of slanting rows of thick knife-like segments running in parallel diagonal bands. Parang usually alternated with narrower bands in a darker contrasting color. These darker bands contain another design element, a line of lozenge-shaped motifs call mlinjon. There are many variations of this basic striped pattern with its elegant sweeping lines, with over forty parang designs recorded. The most famous is the 'Parang Rusak' which in its most classical form consisting of rows of softly folded parang. This motif also appears in media other than batik, including woodcarving and as ornamentation on gamelan musical instruments.
Batik heritage of Indonesia
4/ 5Oleh Andi Mudji