Batik Fabric Complete Guide

Batik is a precious cultural heritage of Indonesia. It symbolizes thousands of years of tradition and the beauty of Indonesian culture. Batik is not only a fabric.

There are so many interesting stories behind it. If you love batik and want to know more about it, here are some interesting facts that you should know about batik fabric.

The Term Batik Is Derived from Javanese Words

The word batik is derived from two Javanese words, “amba,” which means write, and “titik,” which means dot. The word describes the process of making batik.

A batik artist used a tool called canting to draw on the fabric. The canting contains hot wax, which has been melted previously.

The Art of Batik Exists in Many Parts of Indonesia

Batik is commonly used in Java, especially in the Central Java Province and Special Region of Yogyakarta. But batik is not exclusively owned by the Javanese. The other provinces in Indonesia also have their batik fabric with unique patterns.

Batik Bali usually portrays the beauty of nature on this island. Batik from West Java is usually more colorful. Sumatra also has its own Batik. One of the most famous batik patterns from Sumatra is Batik Liek from West Sumatra. It is unique because it uses clay as a coloring agent.

It Used to be the Women’s Domain

Back in the day, making batik fabric was only done by women, probably because most women stayed at home and used their time to make batik.

But now, making batik is not only a woman’s domain. Many men have started to become batik artists, especially since stamped batik technology has been developed.

Hot Wax Is Used to Draw on the Fabric

There are two primary materials to make batik fabric. The first one is coloring, and the second one is wax.

Wax prevents some fabric parts from absorbing colors, so a beautiful pattern is visible on the fabric. The wax must be hot and melted to be easy to use to draw on the fabric.

October 2nd is Commemorated as National’s Batik Day.

Indonesia celebrates National Batik Day on October 2nd to commemorate when UNESCO officially recognized batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Many schools and offices encourage their students and employees to wear batik to honor this day.

Written Batik is More Expensive than Stamped Batik

There are several types of batik fabric, such as written Batik (Batik tulis) and Stamped Batik (Batik Cap). The making process of written batik is more complicated. The batik artist uses canting to draw on the fabric, one curve at a time.

On the contrary, the making process of stamped batik is faster. It uses an iron that has been embossed with a pattern, which is then stamped to the fabric. The design of stamped batik is neater.

However, many people still prefer written batik because it looks more authentic. Due to its higher level of difficulty and authenticity, the price of written batik is pricier than stamped batik.

Each Batik Print Has Different Meanings

Batik fabric is unique because each pattern has a different meaning. Royals use batik Parang, and it symbolizes perseverance and tenacity. Batik Truntum resembles stars. It is often used by parents who want to marry off their children.

Cirebon, a city in West Java has a famous batik pattern called Mega Mendung, which means cloudy sky. The design looks like clouds in the sky which means patience and being cold-headed when encountering a problem.

If you love a more intricate and unique pattern, you will love alas-alasan pattern. Alas-alasan means jungle, and this pattern shows a variety of beautiful animal pictures. The meaning of this pattern is a hope that the wearer can be a wise person when facing complex life problems.

Batik Is Used in Many Types of Clothing

Batik fabric was only used as a type of sarong used by men and women back in the day. However, many young generations don’t wear this type of clothing anymore.

To preserve the rich heritage of batik, many designers started using batik as a pattern in everyday clothes. Now, we can see batik prints on shirts, skirts, jackets, dresses, and even shoes. It is an excellent way to preserve local culture and introduce batik to the young generation.

Now, batik is a fabric that everyone in Indonesia uses. Young people also start wearing batik fabric as a sarong, especially at formal events.

Royals Only use some Batik Prints.

Batik prints also symbolize social status. In the past, some batik prints could only be used by royals. Now, the situation has changed. Everyone can wear any batik pattern, which no longer symbolizes social status.

However, in Kraton Yogyakarta, this tradition still exists, even though not to the full extent. The use of some batik patterns is strictly regulated, and only a few people can use that particular pattern.

Those patterns have deep meaning and can only be used by the royals and people inside the Kraton. Those patterns are called Batik Larangan.

Batik Is Getting More Popular All Over the World

Even though batik is an Indonesian heritage, many people from all over the world love wearing batik. Indonesian government officials often wear batik to international events to introduce batik to the world.

International famous figures such as Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Angelina Jolie wore batik in public events.

Batik-making classes have become tourist attractions in many tourist destinations in Indonesia, especially in Java. Many tourists specially come to Indonesia to learn how to make batik fabric.

Batik is versatile and timeless. Many people have realized that batik is beautiful and can be used as a modern fashion statement.

There are many patterns and colors to choose from, so you can use them to show your personality. If you still don’t have any batik fabric, this is the right time to purchase it.