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*) Javanese for Welcome

 

What is BATIK?

 

Batik Girl

 

This definition of BATIK is taken from WIKIPEDIA

Batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique used on textile. Batik is considered as national art in Indonesia. However, similar patterns like Batik is also found in several countries of West Africa, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Mali, and in Asia, such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma.

Although the word's origin is Javanese, its etymology may be either from the Javanese amba' ('to write') and titik ('dot' or 'point'), or constructed from a hypothetical Proto-Austronesian root *beCķk, meaning 'to tattoo' from the use of a needle in the process. The word is first recorded in English in the Encyclopędia Britannica of 1880, in which it is spelt battik. It is attested in Indonesian Archipelago of the Dutch colonial period in the various forms mbatek, mbatik, batek and batik.

Culture

Batik has been both an art and a craft for centuries. In Java, Indonesia, batik is part of an ancient tradition, and some of the finest batik cloth in the world is still made there.

Contemporary batik, while owing much to the past, is markedly different from the more traditional and formal styles. For example, the artist may use etching, discharge dyeing, stencils, different tools for waxing and dyeing, wax recipes with different resist values and work with silk, cotton, wool, leather, paper or even wood and ceramics.

Procedure

Batik Tulis maker applying melted wax following pattern on fabric using canting, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Melted wax (Japanese: malam) is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. It is common for people to use a mixture of beeswax and paraffin wax. The beeswax will hold to the fabric and the paraffin wax will allow cracking, which is a characteristic of batik. Wherever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the dye will not penetrate. Sometimes several colours are used, with a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps.

Thin wax lines are made with a canting needle (or a tjanting tool), a wooden handled tool with a tiny metal cup with a tiny spout, out of which the wax seeps. Other methods of applying the wax onto the fabric include pouring the liquid wax, painting the wax on with a brush, and applying the hot wax to pre-carved wooden or metal wire block and stamping the fabric.

After the last dyeing, the fabric is hung up to dry. Then it is dipped in a solvent to dissolve the wax, or ironed between paper towels or newspapers to absorb the wax and reveal the deep rich colors and the fine crinkle lines that give batik its character. This traditional method of batik making is called Batik Tulis (lit: Written Batik).

The invention of the copper block or cap developed by the Javanese in the 20th century revolutionized batik production. It became possible to make high quality designs and intricate patterns much faster than one could possibly do by hand-painting. This method of using copper block to applied melted wax pattern is called Batik Cap (pronounced like "chop").

Indonesian batik used for clothing normally has an intricate pattern. Traditionally, wider curves were reserved for batik produced for nobles. The traditional cloth has natural colors (tones of indigo and brown) while contemporary pieces have more variety of color.

Javanese batik typically includes symbols. Some pieces may be mystic-influenced, but very rarely used for clothing. Some may carry illustrations of animals or other intricate things.

 

SOLO (Surakarta)

 

Surakarta is also known by the name "Solo". "Surakarta" is used in formal and official contexts. The city has a similar name with the neighboring district of "Kartasura", where the previous capital of Mataram was located. Variant spelling of Surakarta is found as Soerakarta - and is simply the old spelling prior to the pre 1948's spelling change.

 

 

The mother tongue of Surakartans is a local variety Javanese, which differs in some aspects from other areas speaking Javanese. For example, for Surakatans the Javanese word for "cold" is adem, but in Semarang it is atis. The Javanese language of Surakarta and Yogyakarta is used as the standard for all Javanese speakers throughout the nation. Indonesia's official national language Indonesian.

 

A series of wars and clashes between the Adipati (dukes) followed the death of the last Sultan of Demak Bintoro, the first Islamic kingdom in Java. One of the prominent powerful dukes was Jaka Tingkir, son-in-law of the late sultan. After defeating the last opponent duke of Jipang-Panola, Jaka Tingkir aka. Sultan Hadiwijaya claimed the throne and moved the capital to the city of Pajang, located about 8 miles from the present-day Surakarta. His adopted son, Sutawijaya, formed a conspiracy and killed him with the favour of an assassin. Then, he ascended the throne and once again, moved the capital to Mataram in the present-day province of Jogjakarta, and a new dynasty was founded. It was such an irony to find out that Sutawijaya was the man of the battle which fought against the duke of Jipang-Panola and killed the duke, gained the victory for Pajang.

 

 

The Kraton (or court) was not only the residence of the kings, but also the center of government, religion and culture. This was reflected in the art of the region, especially in its batiks: in the motifs as well as in the colors, and its special rules governing the wearing of batik. In Solo there were special rules about wearing batik. These had to do with- the social position of the wearer - the occasion on which the batik was worn or used, in connection with the meaning and hope or wish symbolized by the motif. The cloth on the left is a detail of a kain panjang which was made in the workshop of Hardjonagoro in Surakarta in the early 80's. The motif combine influences of several region, but the overall style and the color are typical of Solo design The 'kain panjang' means 'long cloth'. It is a piece of cloth of approximately one by two and a half metre. It is used as the sarong, but the kain panjang is regarded as being more formal.The motifs of the Solo design are related to the Hindu-Javanese culture: the Sawat symbol of the crown or highest power, the Meru symbol of mountain or earth, the Naga symbol of the water, the Burung symbol of the wind or upper world and the Lidah Api symbol of the fire.

In Solo there were special rules about wearing of batik:

1) the social position of the wearer,

2) the occasion on which the batik was worn or used. This was in connection with the meaning and hope or wish symbolized by the motif

 

Sriwedari dance troupe

sriwedari.jpg

 

It probably enjoyed its glory days in the 1970s. At that time, people were keen to see its every performance.These days, the classical dancers see fewer and fewer spectators. Although tickets are sold for as little as Rp 3,000 (30 cents), they still fail to attract large audiences.

As low-ranking civil servants, many of the performers earn only Rp 250,000 (US$27.50) per month. Of course, that is far below their monthly needs.

Consequently, they take on different activities to boost their income. Some are tukang ojek (motorbike taxi drivers) or pedicab drivers. Others teach students or become porters at railway stations.

Despite their economic hardship, the dancers remain committed to preserving an aspect of their traditional culture.

Text and Foto: R. Berto Wedhatama

 

 

Sekaten Fair

 

 

The traditional Sekaten Fair coincides with the Islamic month of Rabiul Awal, known as Maulud in the Javanese calendar, and commemorates the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. The North Square of Kasunanan Palace in Surakarta (Solo) offers traditional food and handicrafts.
 
The opening ceremony of Surakarta's Sekaten Fair is marked by a royal procession where the two huge sets of sacred Gamelans from the Sunan Palace are carried to the great mosque at North Square. The Sekaten Fair is concluded by "Grebeg Maulud".

 

 

 

 

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