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The Elegant Batik Cloth :: The Versatile Batik Fabric

Updated on October 8, 2012

One of the hallmarks of Indonesian traditions is the versatile and fabulous Batik fabric

Batik already had proven its staying power for many centuries already. The rich and famous and the monarchs wear them during special occasions and functions. The traders at the markets wear them. The batik clothes come in different colors, designs and even sizes. They are colorful, stunning and very convenient to wear.


What is Batik?

Batik is a type of fabric that has a colorful past. The batik design is created by utilizing a special dye-resistant technique. Batik is arguably one of the hallmarks of the Indonesians and part of their way of life too.

How the Batik is made?

The Batik fabric is created by virtue of using a small copper tool with liquid wax to draw by hand a complicated design on the fabric. When the wax becomes dry, the fabric is dyed. The parts with wax retain their natural color and are not affected by the dye.

In the middle of the 19th century, Batik craftsmen utilized copper stamp as a way of applying the wax. This method is quicker than employing a handheld tool and at the same time can create similar pieces of fabric.

During the 20th century, the technology improved as well as the way the batik is produced. Commercial factories began using screen printing to provide the designs on the fabric. Though handmade batik is still available, the screen printed ones are more common nowadays.

The batik is made from either cotton or silk, whereas the dyes are whipped up from leaves, wood, bark and spices. Synthetic dyes are also tapped in providing colors to the Batik. Prior to the introduction of utilizing wax, vegetable pastes, animal fats and mud were used to make patterns. Most of the wax used these days is synthetic as it is made by combining paraffin and beeswax

Where did the Batik originated?

Nobody knows the exact date and place the Batik was first created but there are some discovered fragments of Batik in China which date back to 6th century C.E. It is not yet clear if Batik making originated in Indonesia, but there are proofs of Batik trade that flourished in the country.

For the past many years, Batik mustered tremendous popularity all over Indonesia and has now turned into a national symbol. The Batik is used to make the traditional clothes of the Indonesians.

In the year 2009, UNESCO put down Batik as part of Indonesia’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Bill Gates wearing a Batik Clothe
Bill Gates wearing a Batik Clothe | Source

How the Batik is used?

There are customary ways of wearing, folding and making Batik that are affected by native beliefs and superstitions. The various regions of Indonesia have their own choice of hues and designs. For instance, the Batik used in the Northern most part of Java is vibrant and often have flowers, birds and animal patterns. Nevertheless, the Batik used by the people who live in Central Java prefers those with limited color range and the designs are frequently geometric shapes.

A typical Indonesian wearing selendang and sarong.
A typical Indonesian wearing selendang and sarong.
Sarong for men
Sarong for men
Iket kepala wrapped around the head of young Insonesian kid
Iket kepala wrapped around the head of young Insonesian kid | Source
Sarong worn by women
Sarong worn by women

The Batik Attire

Selendang - One of the traditional batik attires is the “selendang,” a shawl or carrying cloth that is either hung over the shoulder or worn by women. It is often used for carrying babies or bought items from the market. The “selendang,” is also used to cover the head during the daytime wherever temperate is hot.

Iket Kepala – Traditionally worn on the head by men is the “iket kepala,” a square-shaped Batik cloth which is worn on the head to form a turban. This is often used on various on formal rites.

Sarong – Rectangular in shape the sarong is typically wrapped around the body of either man or woman. In some occasion, the two ends of the cloth are sewn to form a tube. It is usually worn around the legs and tucked in the waist just like wearing a loose skirt.

The many uses of Batik fabric
The many uses of Batik fabric

Other uses of Batik

The Batik is often used in almost any type of clothing. It is also used for paintings, wall hangings, table cloths, bedspreads and the list goes on. Tourists that wander around in the market may find the batik-inspired bags, sandals, lampshades, laptop covers, etc. so enticing. The elegant Batik fabric is truly versatile and distinct.

That’s it folks thanks a lot for the read.

Feel free to shoot your feedback in the comment box below.

My 12th hub in the HubChallenge.

Source: Awake


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