Batik in Majapahit Kingdom Period
Batik -which has been a culture in Majapahit- could be found at Mojokerto and Tulungagung. Mojokerto was a region related to Majapahit. At Tulungagung, we could find many heritages and stories. Once upon a time, it happen the fight between Majapahit and the ruler of Tulungagung, Adipati Karanglewas. He was murdered at that fight. As a result, the region was occupied by Majapahit and it brought batik culture in this region. Nowadays, batik regions in Mojokaerto are Kwali, Mojosari, Betero, Sidomulyo and Jombang. In the end of 19th centuries, there were some batik makers using the material weaved white clothe and for the batik drugs, it made of soga jambal, bengkudu, nila tom, tinggi, etc. Foreign drug had just been known after the World War I. It was sold by China trader at Mojokerto. Stamp batik and foreign drug were known at the same time. Stamp was produced in Bangil and Mojokerto. Batik entrepreneur could buy it in Porong Sidoarjo market. It was known as a crowded market –before world economy crises- whose many batik productions came from Keducangkring and Jetis Sidoarjo. When the economy crises had occurred, Mojokerto batik entrepreneur couldn’t run their business. It took place until the occupation of Japan in Indonesia. The batik trade recovered after the revolution. At that time, Mojokerto had become a colony region. The specific feature of Mojokerto batik (kalangbret) is almost similar to Yogyakarta batik – white background, light brown, and dark blue design- Although batik has been known since Majapahit, its development has just begun spreading quickly at Yogyakarta and Surakarta. It could be found by considering its design.
When bitter fight occurred between Dutch and Diponegoro troops, Kyai Mojo withdrew most of his troops. They ran a way to the East, Majan -It has been a status as Merdikan village, special district and its village headman is a kyai (Islamic teacher or Islamic leader) whose title is given hereditary. This kind of Majan batik production is a heritage of Diponegoro period.
Babaran color of Majan and Simo batik are unique. Its light red comes from bengkudu and the other ones come from tom. Many of batik entrepreneurs came from Solo. They arrived in Tulungagung in the end of 19th centuries. While the batik center, it was in Sembung. Now, some of them lived there.
In addition, there were also many batik regions called Trenggalek and other regions in Kediri – in which batik nature is household craft and its babaran is handwritten batik- Ponorogo, whose batik art has a close relation with Islamic spreading and the last kingdoms. It has been said there was Majapahit descendent in Batorokatong region, called Raden Katong (Raden Patah’s young brother) who spread Islam in Ponorogo. His current heritage is a mosque, located in East Patihan area.
The next development, there was an Islamic Boarding in Ponorogo, Tegal sari, which has been managed by Kyai Hasan Basri. Many people had known him as Kyai Agung Tegal Sari. He had become a son in law of Solo king. In this place, people learned not only Islamic religion but also constitution, war science and literature. One of the most outstanding pupils from Tegal Sari, Raden Ronggowarsito, had a great concern in literature. Batik art had just known in palace area in that time. However, not long afterward, it became down to earth in Tegalsari because Kyai Hasan Basri and his wife (the princess of Solo) followed by her companions, had moved on and lived there. They taught it to the youth. The educated youth would devote themselves in society, especially in the field of administration and religion.
The old batik area that we can find until today are in Kauman region such as East Kepatihan, Ronowijoyo, Mangunkusuman, Kertosari Setono, Cokromenggolo, Kadipaten, Nologaten, Bangunsari, Cekok, Banyudono dan Ngunut. Many years ago, drugs used in batik process were self domestic product made of various trees: Tom tree, Bengkudu tree, and Tinggi Wooden. For white material, it was also self domestic product made of Gendong weaving. Bam import white material had just been known in Indonesia approximately in the end of 19th centuries.
Stamp batik production has just been known after Word War I presented by Chinese, kwee seng in Banyumas. In the beginning of 20th centuries, batik was a leading product in Ponorogo especially on its nila color that was difficult to become discolored. This was the reason why many entrepreneurs from Banyumas and Solo provided a lot of jobs to batik entrepreneur in Ponorogo. The popularity of stamp batik had led to the present of rough batik called blue unbleached plain cloth. Then, stamp batik had become a leading product in Indonesia.