The Significance of Batik for Indonesia
Updated: Feb 11
Indonesian Batik fills the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: newborns are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring good luck to the child, and the dead are shrouded in funerary batik.
Clothes with everyday designs are worn regularly in business and academic settings, while particular varieties are incorporated into celebrations of marriage and pregnancy and puppet theatre and other art forms.
Picture taken from ich.unesco.org
The garments even play the central role in certain ceremonies, such as the ceremonial casting of royal Batik into a volcano. Batik is dyed by proud craftspeople who draw patterns on fabric using dots and lines of hot wax, which maintains vegetable and other dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by immersing the cloth in one colour, separating the wax with boiling water and repeating if multiple colours are desired.
The wide variety of patterns reflects a variety of influences, ranging from Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian peacocks. Often handed down within families for generations, the craft of Batik is intertwined with the cultural identity of the Indonesian people and, through the symbolic meanings of its colours and designs, expresses their creativity and spirituality.
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