The Most Famous And Oldest Motif of Batik Indonesia

A Piece of History

Batik is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique (Wikipedia). In spite of UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on October 2, 2009, history of Batik making had existed in another part of planet earth. Egypt, China, India, Japan, and Africa, were the parts where we can find some inheritances as proof that batik making was done there. In Indonesia Java is most of the pioneer in Batik development although its history had been found as native tradition in Toraja, Flores, and Papua.

A significant history of batik development was Diponegoro’s Battle in 1825-1830 that exhorted a lot dignitaries of Mataram kingdom to leave Mataram and move to another region of Java, to Surabaya, Madura, Banyumas, Pekalongan, etc. They brought and distributed batik culture too. Then Batik industries had increased faster during the Indonesia’s freedom struggle. Dutch also having a role as batik disperser mostly to Europe.

Since the invention of Canting tool batik motif had moved in to the new era design of batik art especially with Gringsing pattern. Various particular design could be drawn easily by utilizing Canting (wax pen).
Gringsing motif has distinctive characteristics which describe different meaning and functions in accordance with respective area.
Because of spending a lot of time to batik processing by Canting tool, in order to fulfill batik requirements we also know Batik Cap. Cap is copper stamp, and its method has look like stamp pad method. The copper has been engraved by unit motif design. Definitely, it will enable for higher volume and faster than hand-drawn design by Canting. Although hand-drawn batik by Canting or Batik Tulis is slowly in processing, it has better quality than Batik Cap. Batik Tulis will give motif result softer than Batik Cap. Some merchants also supply some batik clothes with combination Batik Tulis and Batik Cap.

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Canting Tool for Pattern MakingBatik Tulis - Pattern Processing with Canting Batik Cap - Pattern Processing with Cap / Copper Stamp
Canting Tool for Pattern Making
Canting Tool for Pattern Making | Source
Batik Tulis - Pattern Processing with Canting
Batik Tulis - Pattern Processing with Canting | Source
Batik Cap - Pattern Processing with Cap / Copper Stamp
Batik Cap - Pattern Processing with Cap / Copper Stamp | Source

The Most Famous and Oldest Motif

There are so many designs old patterns of Batik Indonesia but here are among the most famous and oldest :

1. Keraton Motif

Batik Keraton was a luxury for some and also the first kind to inspire the patterns. This were forbidden patterns for people outside Keraton would wear the clothes. Even for surrounding Keraton, with some traditions and cultures of Keraton, pattern process had improved moving to a faster and more developing.
Here are some of the Motif Keraton

Batik Keraton Yogya
Batik Keraton Yogya | Source
Batik Keraton Surakarta
Batik Keraton Surakarta | Source
Batik Keraton Cirebon
Batik Keraton Cirebon

2. Parang Motif

Batik Parang has fascinating history. Parang is chopper knife. It is a java language. Parang Motif primarily specialized in the design for knights and royal family. Yes, previously, Batik Parang was one of kinds Batik Keraton.
Nowadays, Batik Parang is the main motif which is available in almost of all the Batik Shops.

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Parang MotifJessica Alba was wearing Batik Parang
Parang Motif
Parang Motif
Jessica Alba was wearing Batik Parang
Jessica Alba was wearing Batik Parang

3. Kawung Motif

Kawung is one of the oldest pattern of batik. Traditionally, the ornamental cross section represents flora such sugar-palm and fruit of silk cotton. Some argue that four ovals is a spirit of universal energy sources.

Kawung Motif
Kawung Motif

4. Megamendung Motif (Cloud Motif)

Megamendung is a famous motif from Cirebon that has heavy meaning in historical of this City. It was an acculturation and adopted from China that one of the ‘9 Saints’, Sunan Gunung Jati, was married by Princess Ong Tien from China. Many of the inheritances was brought from China, such ceramic, has cloud paint motif. The different between cloud motif from China and Megamendung is in shape of cloud. In heritances from China, cloud’s shape was circle, but Megamendung has oval, being tapered, and triangle shapes.

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Megamendung Motif
Megamendung Motif
Megamendung Motif

5. Sidomukti and Truntum

Sidomukti and Truntum pattern are usual worn by couples and their parents at the wedding ceremony. The philosophy of pattern is a hope to the couple for happy and prosperous living forever.

Sidomukti Motif -  Usually For the Wedding Couple
Sidomukti Motif - Usually For the Wedding Couple
Truntum Motif - Usually for The Parents of Wedding Couple
Truntum Motif - Usually for The Parents of Wedding Couple
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Batik PekalonganBatik Batak GorgaBatik MaduraBatik TorajaBatik Jambi Breaking DurianBatik Palembang
Batik Pekalongan
Batik Pekalongan
Batik Batak Gorga
Batik Batak Gorga
Batik Madura
Batik Madura
Batik Toraja
Batik Toraja
Batik Jambi Breaking Durian
Batik Jambi Breaking Durian
Batik Palembang
Batik Palembang

Contemporary Batik Motif

Actually there are so many different patterns. Aside from all the motifs above have same features that they have geometric symmetry. In that earliest times when Batik was first weared it was special purposes. For example are Batik Parang and Batik Sidomukti. That’s why we call they are the oldest patterns.

But from the period of developing it was easy to understand how Batik pattern was formed. Place, season, and condition have make difference in the selection of patterns. For example fish eye motif often made by fisherman, Parang Barong, always been dressed up by the knights, Batik Kompeni was innovated during colonialism by Dutch. Sakura and Krisan are the main motifs that we can find alongside of north coast of Java when it has begun in occupation of Japan. Some famous batik motif also known by the places where there are batik industries. Batik Pekalongan, Batik Semarang, and Batik Surabaya. Another provinces outside of Java have also Batik tradition with their special patterns according to their cultures. Batik Batak, Batik Palembang, Batik Banjarmasin, etc.

As with many batik designs nowadays, Batik Fractal has show up from the records of some patterns in to the new design motif that can be formed by digital software. It has developed by Yun Hariadi and UNESCO has awarded this invention with category ‘Stamp of Approval’ Award of excellence 2008.

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Batik Fractal PinixtoscaBatik Fractal Lunglung Violet
Batik Fractal Pinixtosca
Batik Fractal Pinixtosca | Source
Batik Fractal Lunglung Violet
Batik Fractal Lunglung Violet | Source

All the differences of patterns and motif must be used to stimulate and enrich the Intangible Heritage of Indonesia Culture and Tradition.


Comments 3 comments

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

Thank you for this beautiful hub about batik since it will socialize batik creations to the world. Among those motifs, I like megamendung and Pekalongan motifs best.


swaradila profile image

swaradila 3 years ago from Cirebon, Indonesia Author

You're welcome agusfanani, we can see how batik motif is a long lasting trend style.

Now megamendung has many innovations for its patterns and it seems more pretty ;)


Obat Penyakit Amandel yang Alami Tanpa Efek samping 13 months ago

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