*) Javanese for Welcome
What is BATIK?
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 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.
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.
Batik Tulis maker
applying melted wax following pattern on fabric using canting,
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
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.
typically includes symbols. Some pieces may be
mystic-influenced, but very rarely used for clothing.
Some may carry illustrations of animals or other
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
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.
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
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
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
(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
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.
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
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