is an ancient art that reached its peak of development on
the Indonesian island of Java.
Dutch traders were so impressed by this craft that in
1835, they brought Batik artists back to Holland with them
when they returned from trading trips.
These 'imported' batik artists taught the process to
factory designers and workers so the beautiful Batik fabrics
could be produced to meet the European demand for it.
batik process was modified for use in textile factories and
quickly adopted in Europe since there was a great demand for
this beautiful and exotic fabric. As
production methods became more advanced, Europeans mastered
the art and soon the Swiss and Germans were mass producing
batik fabric. Modern
batik patterns and processes can now be controlled by
computers, a development that is giving rise to interesting,
new and never before seen geometric designs.
have evidence of batik being practiced over 2,000 years ago
in the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia, and India.
Historians believe the art traveled along the caravan
trade routes. Batik
fabrics have been found in China that date to around the
time of the Sui dynasty (581 - 618 AD) and also in Japan
from the Nara period (710 - 794 AD).
is Batik? It is
a textile art that involves a specialized method of applying
dye to fabric, usually cotton or silk.
There are about 3,000 recorded batik patterns, some
of which include flowers, plants, birds, animals, insects,
and geometric forms are all popular motifs.
The use of computers in developing batik designs
promises to add many more new and exciting designs to this
of batik as the reverse of painting.
Instead of painting an area where you wish there to
be color or a design on a piece of fabric, wax is applied to
the area to keep it color free.
The fabric is then immersed in dye, coloring all the
areas of the fabric that are wax free.
The fabric is dried and then the wax is heated in
order to remove it.
intricate and colorful batik we normally see is a
complicated, multi-step process.
The more colors a batik fabric has, the more times it
has been through the process of applying wax, dying, and
drying, then removing the wax.
The process has to happen in a precise order that
will produce the pattern or figures that are desired.
Additionally, the order of which colors to apply also
has to be followed.
old method of batik involved drawing on the cloth with a
wooden pen that could be filled with wax, calling a
"canting". Because the art of batik, as well as wearing items made from
batik fabric were reserved for the upper classes and
royalty, this art used to be a pastime of female courtiers.
a result of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century,
batik crafters developed large copper stamps, or
"caps" that allowed for larger scale application
of wax. This
also meant that the batik industry was able to keep pace and
compete with the textile fabrics of Europe.
It might not have been much of a competition, though
given how popular batik fabrics were, and are today!
Batik fabrics and garments made
for them were originally reserved for the upper classes, for
example royalty or highly placed government officials.
The designs that were created at the time had
motif called "Satrio Wibowo" means "man with
pattern would be reserved for a gentleman who was suitably
qualified to wear it.
Over time, the fabric became
more available to the general population, being used in home
decoration as well as in wearable garments.
Today, batik is widely available, and something we
can all enjoy!