What is Batik? Why this cloth sound soooo special and interesting?
Batik itself is the name for cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. It's been developed in Java (Central Java, precisely) since 6th century. The most popular pattern, called The Gringsing Pattern was made in Kediri, East Java, & start to be well-known in 12th century. This pattern is only be created by means of the canting (the tools to draw batik's pattern), in which invented & only available in Java around that time.
Thanks to Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, whose brought and published batik cloth in London in 1817, people from all around the world start to know and like batik very much. One of Dutch Merchant, Van Rijekevorsel, gave one piece of traditional batik to the ethnographic museum in Rotterdam in 1873. The cloth still there till today. Batik has been exposed to the Exposition Universelle at Paris in 1900, and it impressed the public and the artisans that time.
There are several kind of Batik cloth. The most expensive and the finest one is Batik Tulis Halus cloth, which can fetch several thousand dollars. It also takes several months to make. You can find this fine batik cloth in Laweyan and Kauman ares in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. Meanwhile the cheapest one is batik cap (hand print batik) and usually use mechanical automation print.
Some batik designs are reserved for brides and bridegrooms as well as their families. Some others are reserved for the Sultan and his family. A person's rank also can be determined by the patter of the batik they wore. In some occasions, batik formerly decorated with gold lead or dust. It called Prada (in Javanese language, it means Gold).
There are some way to make batik. Besides hand-drawing, it also can be done in etching, discharge dyeing, or stencils methods. It also can be made is several different tools for waxing and dyeing and can be done in many kind of fabric, such as silk, cotton, wool, leather, or even wood and ceramics.
Batik has become part of fashion for young people in Indonesia, mostly for casual wear. For formal occasion, women normally wears it as part of kebaya (traditional cloth from Indonesia).
Recently, Batik has found worldwide popularity. Nelson Mandela wears batik shirts on formal occasions. Siti Nurhaliza, one of Malaysian singer, wore Indonesia batik on her wedding day. Ann Duhnam, the late mother of President Barack Obama, was a avid collector of batik. The flight attendants of Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian national airlines all wear batiks for their uniform.