Women With Batik

What is Batik?

What is that mysterious, colorful and pattern-rich fabric called batik?

Batik, beautiful fabrics with many patterns and colors that you have probably heard of. Do you also know the remarkable technique behind this type of fabric?

Batik is originally a dyeing technique that applies colors to textiles. It produces a fantastic fabric that is used to make clothing and decorations. The choice in Batik is endless; you can often choose from beautiful prints and variations of colors (Textielstad, 2020). The original technique requires a lot of patience; it can even take days to weeks to make a fabric, because patterns are applied to fabrics by hand with a pen or stamp. This is done with warm wax. Subsequently, fabrics are immersed in a dye bath. The parts that are not colored with wax are then automatically colored by the paint. Finally, the wax is removed, creating the most beautiful colorful creations. This technique has even been declared a protected cultural heritage of Indonesia by UNESCO (world heritage)! (Laras, 2018)

How did batik come about in Indonesian culture?
Batik has always been a commodity worldwide, but in Java, Indonesia it has only really developed at a high level. The United East India Company (VOC) started this by importing it from India. When they were disbanded in 1799, there was a sudden stop to the import of textiles. The result: a market was created for its own batik industry. With the support of the Javanese elite, the quality of batik art grew enormously in the 19th century.

When Indonesia gained independence, Sukarno, the former president of Indonesia, encouraged the creation of a new batik style. This became Batik Indonesia mentioned. The different styles of Yogyakarta, Surakartaand the north coast of Javawere combined herein. During the reign of this president, batik was proclaimed as Indonesia’s national dress.

The batik industry is still very important in Indonesia and this beautiful fabric is now (luckily for us!) Due to the arrival of web shops more quickly spread to the rest of the world. In Indonesia you can still see batik design every day. Just think of traditional dresses, the uniforms, sarongs, bags and hats. (Indonesie.nl, Getawaytravel, 2020)

Styles per island
Each region in Indonesia has specific patterns and colors. These patterns tell something about the origin, so where the cloth was made, but also the origin of the wearer. It sometimes says something about the environment because of the flora and fauna depicted on it. It can also tell which livelihood is important in a particular area; it tells a story about fishing or rice cultivation. Many batik patterns have a meaning. Batik is not just any material, it is a philosophy of life. It speaks a language in patterns. (Modemuze, 2017)

For example, the Indonesian woman uses clothing with the batik “Semen Rente” pattern as a symbol of a good relationship with her husband on her engagement day. (Dbatik, 2020)

Words used: Batik (fabrics) Sarongs, Clothing

Sources article:
1. Textile City, Batik, 2020, consulted on 11-06-2020,
2. Laras, How do you recognize real batik? 05-06-2018, consulted on 12-06-2020,
3. Indonesie.nl, Getawaytravel, 2020, consulted on 12-06-2020,
4. Modemuze, S, Bolk, Batik, 09-12-2017, consulted on 10-06-2020, https://www.modemuze.nl/themas/batik
5. Dbatik, 2020, consulted on 12-06-2020, https://www.dbatik.net/

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