Posted in Cultural, English

~ I Love Batik ~

As Indonesian, I love “batik”. It is not only because is part a fashion’s trend, batik as one of Indonesian cultural heritage has more meaning than that. Certain batik needs periods of time, patient, highly skillful and sense of art in making it. Hidden inside its complex patterns and designs, batik has philosophical meanings. When a batik is created with exceptional skill, certain color, pattern, symbol and values will be embedded in the final cloth.

The word “batik” itself is Javanese in origin. Based on etymology wikipedia, batik comes from the Javanese word “amba” (means “to write”) and “titik” (means “dot”). However, the Javanese word “amba”, actually has a meaning as “wide” or “large”. Thus, batik could mean as putting/writing dots on the wide/large material, in this term is cloth.

A tradition of making batik is found not only in Indonesia, but also in many other countries. However, Indonesian batik is the best known and most experts believe that Javanese batik is one of the most intricate/complex design that’s ever created. In October 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Javanese batik has different pattern and color, influenced by local culture of the region where the batik’s created. Based on that category, Javanese batik has many types/variant, which called:

Inland batik/batik kraton (Javanese court batik). The oldest form of batik tradition known in Java. This type of batik has earthy color: black, brown, indigo and white. One of the famous batik called “sogan” is batik with classic and exotic pattern dominated by dark brown-black and white color (sogan – Yogyakarta) or brown-yellow/orange color (sogan – Solo). Certain patterns are reserved for royalty, while other are worn on specific occasions. Here, some examples of inland batik:

Inland batik Jogyakarta, motif “Sido Mukti”
Inland batik Jogyakarta, motif “Semen Romo”
Inland batik Solo, motif “Sido Mukti”


Coastal batik/batik pesisir. This type of batik ‘s created by people in the region of northern Java, such as Pekalongan, Cirebon, Lasem, Tuban and Madura. Pekalongan has the most active batik industry. Coastal batik has lively and vibrant color. The patterns are influenced by dynamic and wide range of cultures as those area lived by maritime trading which enable people from many other areas/countries come in and out. Coastal batik called “Jawa Hokokai”, has common pattern of Hokokai style, like Japanese cherry blossoms, butterflies, and chrysanthemums. This type of batik was influenced by Japanese occupation in Indonesia early 1940. Another coastal batik called batik “tiga negeri” (batik of three lands) is attributed to three regions: Lasem, Pekalongan, and Solo. Batik Lasem’s also colorful and has pattern that’s influenced by Chinese’s culture and Persians. Some example of coastal batiks:

Batik Lasem

Outside those two  types of batiks, there are Sundanese/Priangan batik (come from the Priangan region of West Java and Banten), Sumatran Batik and Balinese batik.

Except for batik with the specific pattern, we can always wear batik in any kind of event, casual or official ones, as a dress or skirt, etc.

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