Batik is one of the nation’s cultural heritage of Indonesia. Many districts in Indonesia have a culture to developed Batik especially in Java Island like Pekalongan, Yogyakarta, Solo and others districts. So, Batik nowadays seems to be closely related to the island of Java in Indonesia, who over centuries, been developing the ancient art form to its present day art form as the highly developed intricate batik. Unesco was decided that Batik become nation’s cultural heritage of Indonesia in 2009….
There are two schools of scholars who believe on how history of batik in Java. Some say that batik was originally reserved as an art form for Javanese royalty, where the traditional skills were particularly well developed over hundreds of years in Central Java around Yogyakarta and Solo under the patronage of the Sultan and his court.
Princesses and noble women may have provided the inspiration for the highly refined designs evident in traditional patterns. Designs were copies and in some cases the cloths could only be used by certain people or on certain occasions. And each royal family had their own prescribed designs.
Other scholars disagree that batik was only reserved for the royalties.
According to them, batik was prevelant even to the common folk. It was regarded an important part of a young ladies accomplishment that she be capable of being able to skillfully hand draw batik using the canting (the pen-like instrument used to apply wax to the cloth). Apparently, this skill was as important as cookery and other household chores of the Javanese women.
And true to the form, the people themselves too only wear certain forms of batik motifs for different functions. For example, a certain motif is used during the death (mourn) and another motif is used for when a child is born or when getting married (happy occasions).
Certain areas in Java are known for a predominance of certain designs. Central Javanese designs are influenced by traditional patterns and colors. Batik from the north coast of Java, near Pekalongan and Cirebon, have been greatly influenced by Chinese culture and effect brighter colors and more intricate flower and cloud designs.
The uniqueness of the Indonesian batik is just like all their other arts which are very intricate. This maybe a little difficult to be appreciated by the modern society at first glance. But, when the technique and refinement of Indonesian batik is known, most people will definitely give a second look to it, and more so fall in love (without turning back).
The effort put into their batik are so much more compared to other countries. Sometimes, it requires a few artisans working on it for months.
If there is one country that batik is still commonly found, it has to be Indonesia, as this art form is still very apparent there today. Many of the folks there wear batik in their everyday life from sarungs and even in shirts – both formal and informal. And what makes Indonesia unique is that the folks there are very proud of their tradition, just like how the Thais are proud and synonymous to their Thai silks.