Indonesia product batik is sold in hotel boutiques and street markets in Bali. The cradle though of this beautiful and cherished art form is Central Java, Solo or Surakarta.
UNESCO has declared Indonesian Batik as world heritage.
The traditional, modern or unique patterns are drawn mostly by women onto a long piece of cotton or today also silk with molten wax. What is under the wax will not take the color when dipped numerous times into a vat with color. For each color this process has to be repeated and at the end of it all the wax will be scraped off to reveal a stunning work of art.
The traditional size of the cloth is about 2 m long and 90 cm wide. This is the perfect dimension to wrap around the lower body to form a skirt like garment. Men and women can wear the same pattern and almost the same kind of wrapping.
Commercial batik factories also use stamps to make the fabric affordable and easy to cut for shirts and dresses.
Throughout Indonesia, especially in Central Java also Bali there exist many Batik workshops. Some of them produce spectacular designs, traditional, modern, even to order. Some are collector’s items, very expensive and are not signed by one specific artist; the explanation is: it takes many people to produce these artworks.
In olden days the ladies of the court, produced the textiles for themselves and their families. And of course they designed specific patterns reserved for royalty. Commoners visiting a Keraton (palace) should refrain from wearing these well known and specific patterns.
The Babon Agnrem pattern is reserved for pregnant women to be worn during a special ceremony at seven month of pregnancy. It is hoped that with it mother and baby stay healthy and safe.
For the engagement ceremony the future husband wears the pattern of Arjuna shooting an arrow hopefully straight into the heart of his beloved.
While the future bride wears a kain (cloth) with the hook or chain pattern if she is into him acknowledging that she is hooked or chained to him.
Playboys though wear a patchwork kain. It is made of little squares with each one showing a different pattern hoping that girls will be attracted to at least one of them. He should be able to please many with his dress.
All this fascinating information about Indonesia product Batik is from a guide at the Danar Hadi Batik Museum in Solo. The collection is huge and the history and little anecdotes are charming. Kathy who did not know much about Batik now is almost an expert; all because of the extensive information and examples there.
We cannot show you any photos from the museum because they do not allow it. Go there yourself and enjoy an interesting trip through time and art.
If you would like to know more about the Surakarta royal family and their outfits click here.
While on our trip to Solo and joining of the special ceremony we stayed at this absolutely stunning The Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel by Sofitel. Here you can see how Batik cloth and patterns can be used for accessories and architectural highlights.
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