After war in 1830, Dipenogoro’s companions presented batik in Sokaraja -batik center in Banyumas and the place where Najendra, one of Diponegoro’s companion improved dip batik- the unbleached plain cloth used was self weaving product and the dye used was tom tree, pace tree and bengkudu tree on which they gave red and yellow color. From time to time, Batik production had been developed in Sokaraja. In the end of 19th centuries, they made a direct partnership with batik maker from Solo and Ponorogo. Batik production area that was placed in Banyumas had been known since many years ago. It was because of its design and specific color. To day people call it in Batik Banyumas. After World War I, Chinese was not only became a batik trader but also material batik trader.
So did batik production in Pekalongan. It was spread to other regions: Buaran, Pekajangan and Wonopringgo. Batik production of those areas was not too long from which on other cities. It was about 19th centuries. Meanwhile, Yogyakarta and Solo batik development and other regions had a close relation to historical development of Yogya and Solo kingdom.
After the end of Diponegoro’s war, the family of kingdom moved on out of Yogya – because of their unwilling to cooperate with the Dutch colonial- and batik had become popular and become a livelihood then. In this new region, the design had been adjusted with surrounding enviroment.
By considering its process and design, pekalongan batik was fully influenced by batik of demak. In the beginning of 20th centuries, the popular batik process was handwritten batik. Its unbleached plain cloth was made of both domestic and import product. After World War I, stamp batik and the use of foreign drugs –made of Germany and England- had just been known.
In the beginning of 20th centuries, the weaving, that produced a cummerbund whose thread twined in a simple way, were found in Pekajangan for the first time. A few years later, batik has just been known. It was processed by the employees working in weaving sector. Batik kept on developing faster than cummerbund weaving. Furthermore, most of employees of sugar factory in Wonopringgo and Tirto had ever moved on batik companies because of its higher salary.
In the end of 19th centuries, batik was known in Tegal. The material used was domestic product taken from various trees: bengkudu, nila, soga tree. For its weaving, it was self product. For the first time, the color of Tegal batik was sogan and gray babaran. Then, it was added in nila (indigo) and red-blue. In this period, Tegal batik was distributed outside such as west Java. The trader bought it on foot. Historically, it was them that present batik in Tasik and Ciamis. Besides, other new comers from central Java had participated in developing batik in this area.
In the beginning of 20th centuries, after the World War I, import unbleached plain cloth and import drug had just been known. Most of Tegal batik entrepreneurs was running out of capital. They took the basic commodity from Pekalongan on credit. And they sold it to Chinese who gave them a credit. When the economy crises occurred, the sold of Tegal batik was slowing down. It recovered from 1934 to the beginning of World War II. When Japan occupied in Indonesia, batik became sluggish anymore.
So did in Purworejo. It occurred on the same time with batik of Kebumen. Both of them came from Yogyakarta for about 21th centuries. Batik development in Purwerojo was faster than that in Kebumen. While for its production, it had the same product as Yogyakarta and Banyumas.
In Bayat, village located in the foot of Merapi Mountain, about 21 km in the east of Klaten, batik had been known for a long time ago. Surely, its history had a close relation with Surakarta palace. In Kebumen, batik had been existed for about 19th centuries. It was presented by Jogja visitors in the case of Islamic spreading. The well-known figure was Penghulu, Islamic leader, Nusjav. It was him who developed batik in Kebumen and his first settle was located in the East of Lukolo River. His heritage was a mosque. The first batik process in this town was called “Teng abang or Blambangan”.
Finally, the last process was made in Banyumas or Solo. Concerning for its pattern, it was used a turmeric whose stamp made of wooden. While the patterns were trees and kind of birds. Other material used was bengkudu tree, kemudu and nila tom.
The use of import drugs had been known around 1920. It was presented by BRI employee. For spending less time, he left finally his self product. The use of stamp had been known in 1930 presented by Purnomo from Yogyakarta. Batik regions in Kebumen were Watugarut, Tanurekso etc.
By regarding current heritages and the last history, it might be consider that batik had been known since Tarumanegara period in Tasikmalaya. One of them was tarum tree. It was served as batik process. Remain village for making batik today were Wurug, Sukapura, Mangunraja, Maronjaya and Tasikmalaya city. For a long time ago, the most crowded place was Sukapura village and Indihiang -situated on the border of Tasikmalaya city- In 18th and 19th centuries, the war of central Java kingdom occurred. It led most of the inhabitants of Tegal, Pekalongan, Banyumas and Kudus wandering to west regions and lived in Ciamis and Tasik. Most of them were batik entrepreneurs and they ran batik trade there. Hence, it was known batik production using Soga which came from central Java. Current batik production in Tasikmalaya was batik combination from Pekalongan, Tegal, Banyumas and Kudus. It had various design and color.
In Ciamis, batik had been known in 19th centuries, after Diponegoro War. It was because of Diponegoro’s companion role. They had presented it and made it as a livelihood. The material used for its cloth was self weaving. For painting, it made of tree such as bengkudu and tom tree. For the pattern, it was a combination of central Java batik and local product especially garutan pattern and color. Until the 20th centuries, batik production in Ciamis had developed step by step from self demands to market distribution.
In Cirebon, the origin of batik came from Kanoman, Kasepuhan, and Keprabonan. It had the same story as Yogyakarta and Solo Batik. However, its specific feature was flora and fauna picture. There was also beach pattern, influenced by China mind and Garuda bird, influenced by Yogya and Solo batik.
Like other regions, in Jakarta, batik had been known in 19th centuries, presented by central Java visitors. The outstanding batik area in Jakarta were Karet, Ilir and Udik dam, Kebayoran lama, Mampang prapatan as well as Tebet. Before World War I, Jakarta, especially fish market Harbor, had become interregional shopping center in Indonesia. After World War I, when stamp batik had just been known, batik production increased and batik traders looked for a new area whereas the leading textile and batik area in Jakarta were Tanah Abang (the most famous than others), Jatinegara and Jakarta city. Local batik production from Solo, Yogya, Banyumas, Ponorogo, Tulungagung, Pekalongan, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis and Cirebon gathered in Tanah abang and it was sent to other region out of Java. Compared to Chinese and Arabian batik traders, Indonesia was less than others. Based on this fact, they had an initiative to establish Batik Company in Tanah abang, Jakarta.
After Word War I, batik entrepreneur was Chinese whose employee came from Pekalongan, Yogya, Solo as well as local labor. Next, after considering its process, the origin inhabitant set up batik Company whose pattern and process were adjusted by Pekalongan, Yogya, Solo, and Banyumas batik. The batik commodity used was self weaving product as well as its drugs, made of bengkudu, wooden, turmeric etc. The basic cambric became popular and its market distribution was in Tanah Abang market and surrounding. Furthermore, batik spread out in many part of the cities: Padang, west Sumatera, and other regions out of Java.
By the end of World War I, West Sumatera was one of the customers of batik from Pekalongan, Solo and Yogya. However, Hand weaving- Silungkang and plekat weaving- existed first than others.
After Japan occupation, there was lack of batik stock in Padang whereas the demands keep on increasing from day to day. The customer ordered it to their daily activities. It caused by a serious conflict between Sumatera and Java as well as Dutch blockades. Related to this matter, batik traders therefore tried to produce their own batik. By having self product and implementing sophisticated research of batik from out of Java, they took the pattern and applied in wooden as stamp tool. Batik drug used was self product made of various plants: bengkudu, turmeric, gambier, resin etc. White background had taken from the former/second hand one and hand weaving product.
In 1946, the first company appeared was in Sampan region, Padang pariaman: Bagindo Idris, Sidi, Ali, Sidi Zokaria, Sutan Salim, Sutan Syamsudin and Payakumbuh. In 1948, it was appeared Sir Waslim (from Pekalongan) and Sutan Rajab. In 1949 most of them set up Batik Company using the material made in Singapore through Padang and Pekanbaru harbor. After having open cooperation with Java, they couldn’t even run their business. Most of Padang batik had a black, yellow, red and purple color. They used Banyumasan, Indramayu, Solo and Yogya pattern. Nowadays, the pattern is better than before. However, it is much worse than that of Java. The stamp tool used is made of metal and most of its productions are sarong.
Although the art form of batik is very intricate, the tools that are used are still very simple. The canting, believed to be a purely Javanese invention, is a small thin wall spouted copper container (sometimes called a wax pen) that is connected to a short bamboo handle. Normally it is approximately 11 cm. in length. The copper container is filled with melted wax and the artisan then uses the canting to draw the design on the cloth.
Canting have different sizes of spouts (numbered to correspond to the size) to achieve varied design effects. The spout can vary from 1 mm in diameter for very fine detailed work to wider spouts used to fill in large design areas. Dots and parallel lines may be drawn with canting that have up to 9 spouts. Sometimes a wad of cotton is fastened over the mouth of the canting or attached to a stick that acts as a brush to fill in very large areas.
Wajan and Stove
The wajan is the container that holds the melted wax. It’s hot wax pot. Normally it is made of iron or earthenware. The wajan is placed on a small brick charcoal stove or a spirit burner called an ‘anglo’. The wax is kept in a melted state while the artisan is applying the wax to batik fabric.
Different kinds and qualities of wax are used in batik. Common waxes used for batik consist of a mixture of beeswax, used for its malleability, and paraffin, used for its friability. Resins can be added to increase adhesiveness and animal fats create greater liquidity.
The best waxes are from the Indonesian islands of Timor, Sumbawa and Sumatra; three types of petroleum-based paraffin (white, yellow and black) are used. The amounts mixed are measured in grams and vary according to the design. Wax recipes can be very closely guarded secrets. Varying colors of wax make it possible to disguise different parts of the pattern through the various dying stages. Larger areas of the pattern are filled in with wax that is cheaper quality and the higher quality wax is used on the more intricately detailed sections of the design.
The wax must be kept at the proper temperature. A wax that is too cool will clog the spout of the canting. A wax that is too hot will flow too quickly and be uncontrollable. The artisan will often blow into the spout of the canting before applying wax to the cloth in order to clear the canting of any obstructions.
Creating batik is a very time consuming craft. To meet growing demands and make the fabric more affordable to the masses, in the mid-19th century the . cap. (copper stamp – pronounced chop) was developed. This invention enabled a higher volume of batik production compared to the traditional method which entailed the tedious application of wax by hand with a canting.
Each tjap is a copper block that makes up a design unit. tjap are made of 1.5 cm wide copper stripes that are bent into the shape of the design. Smaller pieces of wire are used for the dots. When complete, the pattern of copper strips is attached to the handle.
The tjap must be precisely made. This is especially true if the pattern is to be stamped on both sides of the fabric. It is imperative that both sides of the cap are identical so that pattern will be consistent.
Sometimes tjap are welded between two grids like pieces of copper that will make a base for the top and theApplying wax with cap bottom. The block is cut in half at the center so the pattern on each half is identical. tjap vary in size and shape depending on the pattern they are needed for. It is seldom that a cap will exceed 24 cm in diameter, as this would make the handling too difficult.
Men usually handle the application of wax using cap. A piece of batik fabric that involves a complicated design could require as many as ten sets of cap. The usage of cap, as opposed to canting, to apply the wax has reduced the amount of time to make a cloth.
Today, batik quality is defined by tjap and tulis, the second meaning hand-drawn designs which use a canting and stamp, or kombinasi, a combination of the two techniques.
Traditional colors for Central Javanese batik were made from natural ingredients and consisted primarily of beige, blue, brown and black.
The oldest color that was used in traditional batik making was blue. The color was made from the leaves of the Indigo plant. The leaves were mixed with molasses sugar and lime and left to stand overnight. Sometimes sap from the Tinggi tree was added to act as a fixing agent. Lighter blue was achieved by leaving the cloth in the dye bath for short periods of time. For darker colors, the cloth would be left in the dye bath for days and may have been submerged up to 8 – 10 times a day.
In traditional batik, the second color applied was a brown color called soga. The color could range from light yellow to a dark brown. The dye came from the bark of the Soga tree. Another color that was traditionally used was a dark red color called mengkuda. This dye was created from the leaves of the Morinda Citrifolia.
The final hue depended on how long the cloth was soaked in the dye bath and how often it was dipped. Skilled artisans can create many variations of these traditional colors. Aside from blue, green would be achieved by mixing blue with yellow; purple was obtained by mixing blue and red. The soga brown color mixed with indigo would produce a dark blue-black color.
Although there are thousands of different batik designs, particular designs have traditionally been associated with traditional festivals and specific religious ceremonies. Previously, it was thought that certain cloth had mystical powers to ward off ill fortune, while other pieces could bring good luck.
Certain batik designs are reserved for brides and bridegrooms as well as their families. Other designs are reserved for the Sultan and his family or their attendants. A person’s rank could be determined by the pattern of the batik he/she wore.
In general, there are two categories of batik design: geometric motifs (which tend to be the earlier designs) and free form designs, which are based on stylized patterns of natural forms or imitations of a woven texture. Nitik is the most famous design illustrating this effect.
Certain areas 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.
High fashion designs drawn on silk are very popular with wealthy Indonesians. These exceptionally high-quality pieces can take months to create and costs hundreds of dollars.
Kawung is another very old design consisting of intersecting circles, known in Java since at least the thirteenth century. This design has appeared carved into the walls of many temples throughout Java such as Prambanan near Jogjakarta and Kediri in East Java. For many years, this pattern was reserved for the royal court of the Sultan of Jogjakarta. The circles are sometimes embellished inside with two or more small crosses or other ornaments such as intersecting lines or dots. It has been suggested that the ovals might represent flora such as the fruit of the kapok (silk cotton) tree or the aren (sugar palm).
Ceplok is a general name for a whole series of geometric designs based on squares, rhombs, circles, stars, etc. Although fundamentally geometric, ceplok can also represent abstractions and stylization of flowers, buds, seeds and even animals. Variations in color intensity can create illusions of depth and the overall effect is not unlike medallion patterns seen on Turkish tribal rugs. The Indonesian population is largely Muslim, a religion that forbids the portrayal of animal and human forms in a realistic manner. To get around this prohibition, the batik worker does not attempt to express this matter in a realistic form. A single element of the form is chosen and then that element is repeated again and again in the pattern.
Parang was once used exclusively by the royal courts of Central Java. It has several suggested meanings such as ‘rugged rock’, ‘knife pattern’ or ‘broken blade’. The Parang design consists of slanting rows of thick knife-like segments running in parallel diagonal bands. Parang usually alternated with narrower bands in a darker contrasting color. These darker bands contain another design element, a line of lozenge-shaped motifs call mlinjon. There are many variations of this basic striped pattern with its elegant sweeping lines, with over forty parang designs recorded. The most famous is the ‘Parang Rusak’ which in its most classical form consisting of rows of softly folded parang. This motif also appears in media other than batik, including woodcarving and as ornamentation on gamelan musical instruments.
Modern batik, although having strong ties to traditional batik, utilizes linear treatment of leaves, flowers and birds. These batiks tend to be more dependent on the dictates of the designer rather than the stiff guidelines that have guided traditional craftsmen. This is also apparent in the use of color that modern designers use. Artisans are no Modern Batiklonger dependent on traditional (natural) dyes, as chemical dyes can produce any color that they wish to achieve. Modern batik still utilizes canting and cap to create intricate designs.
Fashion designers such as Iwan Tirta have aggressively introduced batik into the world fashion scene. They have done much to promote the Indonesian art of batik dress, in its traditional and modern forms.
The horizon of batik is continuing to widen. While the design process has remained basically the same over the last century, the process shows great progress in recent decades. Traditionally, batik was sold in 2 1/4 meter lengths used for kain panjang or sarong in traditional dress. Now, not only is batik used as a material to clothe the human body, its uses also include furnishing fabrics, heavy canvas wall hangings, tablecloths and household accessories. Batik techniques are used by famous artists to create batik paintings which grace many homes and offices.
Fine quality handmade batik is very expensive and the production of such works is very limited. However, in a world that is dominated by machines there is an increasing interest in materials that have been handmade. Batik is one of these materials.
During your stay in Indonesia, take advantage of your time here to learn more about the fascinating world of batik. Have a batik dress or men’s business shirt made for you by a seamstress or tailor. Visit batik factories in Jogjakarta, Surakarta, Cirebon or our factory in Pekalongan to see for yourself how the intricate process is conducted or ask questions of batik artisans giving demonstrations in stores such as Sarinah, tanah abang or thamrin city in Jakarta. You will come away with sense of wonder over the time, effort and patience put into the creation of each batik cloth. You too may soon grow to love the distinctive waxy smell of batik and your batik acquisitions will provide many memories of your stay in Indonesia. Your support of the batik industry will also ensure that this art form grows to even greater peaks.