History of Indonesian Batik

Posted by Seto Elkahfi on Friday, 7 December 2012

One of cultural product which is considered a work of genius is a local batik.When the experts talk about batik, it means Indonesia or, more specifically, Java. The famous designer from the West did not hesitate to pick up inspiration from batik. 

Batik is Originally From Indonesia 

Batik is Originally From Indonesia
Emilio Pucci, the Italian designer who astonish the world in the 1960s with a striking design motif, taking into one of batik cloth and clothing design (Pucci, A Renaissance in Fashion, 1991). The designer is now a world more like Giorgio Armani, Kenzo and Paul Smith has long been impressed by the Indonesian batik and woven fabric.People of humanity is also a former South African President, Nelson Mandela, always wear a shirt made from batik Indonesia in every occasion, including state occasions.

Pattern and Kind of Indonesian Batik


As a decorating technique, batik not only in Indonesia. Establish where the origins of batik are also possibly be in vain. Iwan Tirta mention, batik evolved simultaneously in different parts of the world. However, the world recognizes that the Javanese batik is the most delicate because it has a decorative pattern of the richest, most developed coloring techniques, and technically the most perfect creation than batik from other regions.Batik is just one technique of decorating fabric that grown in Indonesia. Indonesia familiar with other techniques ie before threads are woven like a bunch of techniques.These techniques are often combined so as to produce wealth techniques to create extraordinary decoration. They are now entering the industry such as batik and fabric Iwan Tirta, Josephine Komara of Bin House or Baron Manansang of Weaving Baron, similarly said, batik, tie, jumputan and weaving techniques such as songket and striated, giving an almost unlimited opportunities in producing decoration and in the future these techniques could always meet the demands of the times. 


Pattern and Kind of Indonesian Batik
Although initially only one of batik techniques to create ornaments, but in the development of batik became very prominent compared with other techniques to create decoration.There are several reasons why more developed batik in Java. Iwan Tirta mentioned, one important reason is the batik cloth to be an alternative to woven fabrics such as belts or any other that requires a longer time in the making and is unable to meet the needs. This happens especially when the fabric meets the need for religious ceremonies.Batik as decoration and began imitating decoration formed by weaving techniques.The most obvious example is the imitation motive patola, which is a kind of double ikat cloth from Gujarat, India. The resulting bundle motif refinement patola quickly drew the interest of royal nobility Java (Central). However, the scarcity of supply, making batik artisans quickly imitate patola motif. Thus was born the motive nitik and jlamprang in Pekalongan.Other evidence cited Iwan Tirta is in areas where developing weaving, batik does not develop. Batik then also began to imitate the decorative embroidery from mainland China mainly for altar cloths and decorate the walls because of batik can repeat motifs are faster.

The Culture and Prestise Wearing Batik

Other reasons why batik survive and thrive is because batik get protection (patronage) of the palace in the past, the government of the Republic of Indonesia after birth, and an elite group of society when society increasingly dominant role.Batik-Batik batik artisans produced the best to the king in part because it is a manifestation of the artist's devotion to the Creator.Head of State is the patron when Indonesia was independent. Star Sudibjo deceased was one of batik artisans who have a place when President Sukarno ruled. Iwan Tirta then get a place when the late Mrs. Tien Soeharto humah heard of a man is not bloody understand Javanese batik. Now President Wahid is also more frequent Adurrahman wearing batik shirts in a variety show.In addition, batik still have a place among the elite of Indonesia although a Western-style dress into everyday wear. Iwan Tirta in the 1980's to introduce batik with gold leaf, and come to give color to the development of batik. Houses fabric Bin House back to excite against batik and batik cloth back into fashion. Among the younger designers of age, began to seriously pursue Carmanita batik and participate give their own color. Various batik design competition and apply it to everyday wear, held various nongovernmental organizations contributed to the persistence of batik till today.

BEFORE batik as it is now known to exist, which is a technique used to decorate with color hold a candle tonight, in Indonesia has been known for "batik" with a simpler technique. Cain simbut in Banten, and fabric ma'a from Toraja, South Sulawesi, using techniques also hold color. As a drag on the fabric color simbut used the crushed rice and sticky rice mixed with sugar water. Cain then dipped into the liquid dye made from plants. Then the rice sticky rice scraped and covered the rice sticky rice remained white like the original color of the fabric.Ma'a was first done in an isolated mountainous area, so there is a suspicion, as mentioned Iwan Tirta, Indonesia has the embryo of batik from within its own territory.One example of batik cloth is still produced and become examples of the evolution of intermediaries to shape the current batik is batik cloth-striated Tuban in East Java and some Jambi batik cloth. The shape of the dots that form a geometric pattern or plaid.Rens Heringa anthropologist who has studied Javanese batik for over 25 years in Batik from the North Coast of Java (1997) among others mention, simple motifs on simbut cloth, batik-striated Tuban or Jambi batik cloth, were also found in a variety of objects made in South Asia and Southeast Asia. 

The Similar Desing and Pattern of Batik 





The same design is also found in batik are drawn using bamboo sticks called laran, made ethnic minorities in southwest China, and ethnic minorities in the mountains of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.Use of the night (candle) to distinguish batik is now known of the early forms of batik.Tonight provides an opportunity to produce a variety of motifs of batik in Java so that developed into the shape it is today.Techniques to create decorative cloth with color resist technique is estimated to already exist in the Islands archipelago since prehistoric times, although no example of fabric that remains today except the fabric of the 19th century. One of them is the fabric simbut contained in the National Museum.There are not many records about the development of batik technique (holding color) start to become rich Javanese batik techniques detailed and complex decoration.

International Version of Batik Like

One reason for the Javanese batik is women's work, and therefore not worth written down since the writing is the domain of men.Heringa said, although evidence of written or physical evidence of the development of batik in the early days have not been found today, but most early myths about batik already exist in about 700 AD Myth says about prince from the east coast near Surabaya Jenggala named Ox Amiluhur. Bride Amiluhur Ox, a nobleman's daughter from Coromandel, India and her ladies who are Hindu, teaches weaving, batik, and dye fabric to the people of Java. This myth survived until the son of Ox, Raden Panji Ima Kerta Pati, became king.Written records of new batik emerged hundreds of years later, in 1518, from Galuh region in the northwest of Java, in pre-Islamic.Both the myth and the first written records about batik, both located in coastal or northern coast of Java and before the entry of Islam. These areas have tremendous influences from India, China, and Persia through trade. Color resist techniques using wax (night) which may be imported from the Coromandel and Persian, has more in common visually with traditional cloth Coast, especially in the size and format.However, artisans in Java, and then develop their own fabric to match their needs so that then the techniques used in the Coromandel is only decoration is made only on one side is very different from the Javanese batik in detail, so not exactly Javanese batik originated from India. The same thing applies to the fabric of Persian kalamkari using block-printing process to get the ornament.


China also contributed to the Javanese batik at least since the time of Sultan Agung, who became the first Muslim king in Mataram (1613-1645). Sultan Agung mentioned using batik bird huk which in Chinese mythology brings good luck blessing. This story opens up the possibility of the role of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century on the coast in the spread of Islam. Alternatively, immigrants from southern China contributed to the development of batik. Women from ethnic minorities in the south and southeast China decorate their cotton fabric with color using wax resist techniques used in Java from the Ming Empire to present.Dutch colonialists began to pay attention to the batik in the 19th century. The experts at that time to make judgments about batik distorted by stating that originally centered batik from Yogyakarta and Surakarta Kingdom new spread to women artisans in the villages that make batik for commercial purposes.Rens Heringa reject that view, saying the possibility of new batik technique into the hinterland of Java after the middle of the 17th century when the Sultanate of Mataram develop and adopt a culture of Coastal. When Kertasura became the capital of the kingdom, colors and patterns change gradually becomes softer style palaces of Central Java. Batik-batik from Yogyakarta Palace and especially Surakarta and motifs derived from both, then regarded as the pinnacle work of batik and batik from another area then considered not as beautiful batik two areas that, for a very long time.So far, all made using batik canting with different size and shape refinement. Staining using a natural dye, and batik is more of a seasonal job for the family.Batik began to develop as a commercial commodity when in the late 18th-century fabric of Indian exports have fallen because of competition from European print fabric.
Batik from Coastal began to replace the fabric of Indian and Peranakan Chinese traders was instrumental in the production of and trade in batik.Peranakan traders who trade over a white cotton cloth and other materials batik maker, has a network of up to remote villages and they also lend money. They often give advance payments to encourage the production of batik by the women in the countryside. In the mid-19th century women's Indo-European and Indo-Arab coming in as a batik entrepreneur. During this period the women in the villages of Java, was working outside their villages to earn wages as batik, especially when the harvest was not successful family.Pekalongan in 1850 by collector Harmen C. Veldhuisen Batik (Batik Netherlands, Dutch Influence in Batik from Java History and Stories, 1993), has evolved as an important center of batik. In the batik industry and the division of labor occurs: the man in charge of preparing the white and colored cotton cloth, while women batik motifs determined by the buyer or copying ready-made batik wear tonight.Since the beginning of the start of commercial production of batik, batik needs can never be fulfilled. Therefore, in the early 19th century, formed a market for imitating batik cloth with print techniques imported from Europe.This fact and encourage batik traders developed a technique to speed up the production process. They then conduct various experiments, among others, using sweet potato as a stamp. Finally found stamp made of copper wire blocks that make up one block motif. However, since the stamp was making requires a lot of manpower, production of cloth should be large enough to make it economical.Veldhuisen mention one stamp can make about 200 gloves. 

Because making batik is a job for men, women forced to only be able to work to make batik.World War I brought destruction to the batik industry. White cotton imports from the Netherlands disrupted, batik price rises, and to earn money as much as possible, the batik produce as much as possible. The result is flooding the market and prices fell, while the limited supply of fabric. After World War I, the Dutch East Indies re-import the cloth in 1918 but printed batik industry improved only a moment since then affected by depression. Only those who are serving a group of elite like batik Peranakan who could survive. This causes a lot of batik lose their jobs, and then batik imported from other regions using rail when the wages of local batik became too expensive.

BATIK is a major clothing to describe a person's social position, especially during the reign of the kingdom and Dutch colonial rule. Parang motif is damaged, for example, may only be worn by the king in Yogyakarta and Surakarta. The motive, according to myth has been saved from the danger of Raden Panji and Sultan Agung also use this motif.Batik is considered to have meaning associated with birth, marriage, and death.Javanese people who died for example, the base where he lay before going to the grave covered seven of batik cloth, batik is also used to cover the body. Brides sidamukti cloth as a symbol of blessing.Iwan Tirta who calls himself as the guardian of traditional values ??batik, batik look at the future of fashion will survive as a complement to modern (Western) women in Indonesia in the form of cloth scarf (shawl) or scarf, as a batik shirt, or as a decor element. Long batik cloth in the form of kebaya worn together will only be used at certain times only.The more melunturnya-sacred elements of tradition in everyday life humans Indonesia, had an impact on the disappearance of the meaning of batik. That will develop later is really batik as decoration.Batik is a resist technique night wear any color will likely increasingly rare, especially batik. The process that takes time, especially if you want to get the batik with many colors, make batik become increasingly expensive. Batik write with such beauty in the 19th century and early 20th century, probably just a collection of objects.On the other hand, the growth of textile industry in Indonesia is also threatening the existence of batik in the sense that they reproduce without using the batik technique but using a technique of batik print. Lay people may be fooled by the "batik" like this batik cloth could be "cheap".

One of the Javanese batik making is different from other local batik is isen-isen which became the main motive background that the outline is divided into geometric patterns and motifs nongeometris. While batik is victorious, isen-isen which can be the point, and tendrils or lines, filling the entire background of the fabric, something that is very rarely done anymore because it takes a long time in the process. Batik, as a technique to make ornaments, perhaps eventually will belong to a few people only.

Ninuk Mardiana Pambudy Kompas journalist.

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