Our attire is one of the ways for people around us to guess the personality that we have, to differentiate and know the religion of a group of people from others by certain clothes that they style with, for example, a hijab. Furthermore, our attire holds the power of identity and culture that we grow up with. In simple words, attire is not a garment and layers of clothes to protect our body from coldness and hot days, to dignify ourselves or to express our calm, artistic or eccentric personality through them. Attire is a cultural heritage that one may forget later but we shall introduce them again to the modern society, not constrained to the local society but the awareness shall be strategic and be spread across the borders. In this article, we would like to bring classy traditional textiles that were often styled by the royals and even commoners a long time ago in Southeast Asia. Fortunately, these classy traditional textiles are still appreciated by the Southeast Asians and become the formal attire for corporate events and also for the grand events! Yes, this article is about batik, which is a heritage in Southeast Asia! On a side note, if you would like to know about NFT Drops, you may click the NFT calendar.
Introduction of Batik
The term batik is shared by Malay and Indonesian languages to imply the similar thing, which is a drawing, painting, writing or dripping. Batik is also recognized as a traditional textile decoration technique across cultures. Generally, the processes of creating a batik often encompass the process of dripping dyes on a wide cloth by using a wax-resist technique to avoid the dye spillage or dye spread on other patterns.
There are two types of traditional batik. First is hand-drawn batik. The second type is printed batik. What aspects distinguish the hand-drawn batik and printed batik from each other? First, we will go through the hand-drawn batik. In the process of making a hand-drawn batik, the hot melted wax is applied manually through canting. For your information, canting is a tool used for drawing the motifs on the fabric or cloth with liquid wax. Meanwhile, in printed batik, it is applied by pressing the pattern blocks onto the cloth. Later, the cloth is dyed. Those parts that have been treated with wax will not be filled up by the dye. After bathing the cloth in colour, the design is created. Then the cloth is washed in hot water. Hot water is essential to remove the wax and this results in a design.
Traditional Batik Patterns
The earliest known kind of Javanese batik tradition is inland batik, also known as batik kraton (Javanese court batik). Earthy colours like black, indigo, brown, and sogan (a brownish-yellow colour created from the tree Peltophorum pterocarpum) can be found in inland batik, which also features symbolic patterns that are largely devoid of foreign influence. Royal members only wear the specific patterns, while others are saved for special occasions. For instance, the bride dons a particular pattern for each part of the ritual at a Javanese wedding. Inland batiks are famously made in Solo and Yogyakarta, which are historically thought of as the hubs of Javanese culture. The Susuhunan and Mangkunegaran Court preserves batik solo, which often has sogan roots. The Yogyakarta Sultanate and Pakualaman Court both preserve batik Jogja, which often has a white background.
Several locations in Madura and northern Java make coastal batik. As a result of marine trade, coastal batiks contain brilliant colours and designs that are inspired by a variety of civilizations as opposed to inland batiks. European flower bouquets, Chinese phoenixes, and Persian peacocks are examples of recurring symbols. Renowned coastal batiks are manufactured in Pekalongan, Cirebon, Lasem, Tuban, and Madura. The batik industry is mainly active in Pekalongan. Jawa Hokokai, a well-known kind of coastal batik, is not specifically associated with any area. Due to a lack of materials during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in the early 1940s, the batik industry suffered tremendously. However, the workshops supported by the Japanese were able to create extraordinarily beautiful batiks known as Jawa Hokokai. Japanese cherry blossoms, butterflies, and chrysanthemums are typical Hokokai themes.
Another coastal batik is known as tiga negeri (batik of three lands), which is credited to Lasem, Pekalongan, and Solo. These places are where the batik would be dyed with red, blue, and sogan, respectively. As of 1980, batik tiga negeri was only produced in one city.
The word for batik from the Priangan region of West Java and Banten is sundanese or Priangan batik. Although Priangan batiks can use a variety of colours, some of its variations show a fondness for indigo. The Citarum river and the Tarumanagara kingdom both bear the name Tarum, which shows that ancient West Java was once a major producer of natural indigo. Natural indigo dye created from Indigofera is among the earliest known dyes in Java, and its native name Tarum has given its name to both. Famous Priangan batik is manufactured in Tasik Malaya, Garut, and Ciamis. Other traditions include Batik Kuningan influenced by batik Cirebon, batik Banten that developed quite independently, and an older tradition of batik Baduy.Bright pastel colours are used in Batik Banten, which is a revival of a vanished craft from the Sultanate of Banten that was unearthed through archaeological study between 2002 and 2004. Twelve motifs have been recognised from areas like Surosowan and various other places.
Only colours of indigo, from bluish black to deep blue, are used in Batik Baduy. It is customarily worn by the Outer Baduy people of Lebak Regency, Banten, as iket, a form of Sundanese head dress resembling the Balinese udeng.
In the Malay Annals of the 17th century, batik was mentioned. According to mythology, Laksamana Hang Nadim was given the task by Sultan Mahmud of Malacca to set sail for India in order to purchase 140 pieces of serasah cloth (batik) that each had 40 different varieties of flowers. As he couldn’t locate any that met the criteria given to him, he came up with his own. He only brought four pieces with him when he returned due to the sinking of his ship, which angered the Sultan. The process used to create Malaysian batik differs from those used to create Javanese batik in Indonesia in that the design is bigger and simpler, and canting is only occasionally used to create complicated patterns. To apply colours to materials, brush painting is frequently used. In contrast to the dark colours of Javanese batik, the colours are also frequently lighter and more vivid. Leaves and flowers are the most widely used motifs. Following the influence of Islamic religion, Malaysian batik frequently features plants and flowers to avoid the perception of human and animal imagery as idolatry. The butterfly theme, though, is frequently an exception.
If you would like to purchase traditional batik in Malaysia or Indonesia, you are suggested to purchase from the local artisans.