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What is Batik?

The Process.

Batik is a Resist dyeing technique and probably the oldest method to decorate clothes.

A Batik design involves covering certain areas of the design with a substance, whether wax, mud, or rice paste, which acts as resist, so the fabric underneath retains its original color.
In Indonesia, the traditional batik tool to wax is called canting.

The following video was filmed at Zahir Widadi's  Studio in Pekalongan city, Indonesia. Zahir is an expert dyeing with Natural Indigo.

The History.

The word Batik is from Java, derived from"ambatik"

Tik means to mark with dots or spots.

The precise origin of Batik is unknown The earliest evidence has found in the East, Central Asia, India, and Perú. However, it is more likely that the craft spread from China to the islands of the Malay Archipelago through caravan routes.  

However, it is in Indonesia, especially on the island of Java, where Batik reached the major peak of development. In the past was the pastime of women of noble birth and gradually it came to the distinguishing mark of the dress of the aristocracy, the popularity increased and finally it came to be a national costume worn all over the country.

In 2009, UNESCO proclaimed Batik from Indonesia as an "Intangible Heritage of Humanity" in an official ceremony held in Abu Dhabi to promote the Batik development and to recognize the valuable work of the communities that have dedicated their lives to preserve this art for generations.

The following gallery shows some details of ancient Batiks exhibited at the Pekalongan Museum.  The colourful, the flowers the leaves, and the vegetals motifs are characteristic of Batik from this region. 

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