Batik Shirts and Batik Fashion

Indonesian batik, which is considered to be over 1,000 years old, was enshrined in UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. According to UNESCO, the technique of batik is connected with the cultural identity of the Indonesian people and reflects their creativity and spirituality via the symbolic meanings of its colors and designs.

History of Batik.

Javanese rulers were well-known benefactors of the arts, funding the development of several art forms like silver decoration, wayang kulit (leather puppets), and gamelan orchestras. In other circumstances, the art forms are intertwined. The Javanese dalang (puppeteer) was not only in charge of the wayang puppets, but he was also a major supplier of batik designs. Wayang puppets are often constructed of goatskin that has been perforated and painted to give the appearance of clothes on the puppet. Puppets were frequently sold to enthusiastic ladies who used the puppets as designs for their batiks. To reproduce the intricate designs onto the fabric, they would blast charcoal through the holes that define the patterns of clothes on the puppets.

Malaysia Batik

A brief history and considerable ingenuity can serve as catchphrases for Malaysian commercial batik manufacture. This history, which spans just around 100 years, has been full of energy and activity. We know that in the early 1900s, Malays on the peninsula's east coast experimented with wax-free cloth printing.

In the 1920s, individuals in the same area began employing a screen printing process to produce decorative fabrics quickly and cheaply. Around 1930,'real' batik production began, with wax stamping directly on the cloth. Long before this manufacturing began, Batik, particularly from Java, was recognized and utilized in what is now Malaysia. 

The Malays picked up the methods and patterns from the Javanese. Even now, parts of designs from Javanese textiles are continued and evolved in numerous textiles manufactured by block printing and screen printing.

Although Javanese origin remains obvious, Malaysian producers have partially emancipated themselves from it and developed their craft in new directions. This is evident in technique and design, as well as the development of new product categories. Leaves and flowers are the most frequent themes. 

Malaysian batiks showing animals are uncommon since Islamic traditions prohibit the use of animal imagery as ornamentation. The butterfly theme, on the other hand, is a common exception. Malaysian batik is particularly well-known for its geometric patterns, such as spirals.

Malaysian batik textiles have an international edge because they have brighter colors and more adaptable designs than the more mystic-influenced Indonesian batik, which has depictions of animals and people. Malaysian batik design has its unique individuality, which might be attributed to the country's multicultural and ethnic variety.

The Batik Process

The pattern's contour is customarily drawn on the fabric with charcoal or graphite. Traditional batik designs make use of motifs passed down through the generations. An artisan is rarely so accomplished that he can work from memory and does not need to create an outline of the design before applying the wax. 

Designs are frequently traced from stencils or pola patterns. One way to trace a design onto fabric is to place the cloth on a glass table that is lit from below, casting a shadow of the pattern onto the cloth. After that, the shadow is traced with a pencil. In today's major batik companies, men are generally responsible for sketching the patterns onto the cloth.

Making batik is a labor-intensive technique. To accommodate rising demand and make cloth cheaper for customers, a copper stamp known as a cap was invented in the mid-nineteenth century. When compared to the conventional approach, which required the painstaking application of wax by hand with a canting, this invention allowed for a larger volume of batik manufacturing.

Once the pattern has been sketched onto the fabric, it is ready to be waxed. Wax is applied to the fabric over the portions of the pattern where the artist wants the cloth to retain its natural color. This is usually white or cream.

Female employees sit on a low stool or a mat to apply the wax with a canting motion. The cloth is hung over light bamboo frames known as gawangan to allow the freshly applied wax to cool and set. In the wajan, the wax is heated until it reaches the proper consistency. The artist then dips her canting into the wax to fill the canting's basin.

The wax is used by artisans to retrace the pencil outline on the cloth. A little drop cloth is placed on the woman's lap to shield her from the hot, pouring wax. The stem of the canting is held horizontally with the right hand to minimize unintentional leakage, which drastically diminishes the value of the final cloth. 

To provide support, the left hand is put beneath the cloth. The spout does not come into contact with the cloth, rather it is held slightly above the area where the artist is working. Batik is waxed on both sides to ensure the design is clearly defined. True tulis batik is reversible, as the design on both sides should be similar.

Types of Batik Fabric

Barkcloth and woven cotton were the first textile materials used in Malaysia and Indonesia. However, when more diverse and "better" imported materials were accessible through trade agreements with India, China, and Europe, there was a progressive change in their use.

Weavers were able to make distinguished materials for the aristocrats and upper level of society due to the availability of luxury products such as silk and metal thread. Weavers all throughout Malaysia embraced the usage of the backstrap loom after being influenced by Indian weaving and design approaches.

Later, the floor loom was imported from Europe, allowing for more growth and allowing weavers to make broader cloth than on the backstrap loom. The backstrap loom is still used by indigenous people in Borneo today, and the use of natural dyes is a hallmark of the subdued, natural hues of indigenous textiles, notably the Iban Pua Kumbu of Sarawak. Textiles are frequently employed as arts in addition to their essential role of covering the body.

Batik Designs

Although there are hundreds of distinct batik designs, certain motifs have traditionally been connected with various religious events and traditional festivals. Previously, it was believed that particular fabrics possessed supernatural properties to fend off bad luck, while others may offer good luck.

Certain batik patterns are only available to brides and grooms, as well as their relatives. Other designs are exclusive for the Sultan, his family, and their attendants. The design of a person's batik might reveal his or her rank.

In general, batik design falls into two categories: geometric motifs (which tend to be older designs) and free form designs, which are based on stylized patterns of natural forms or imitations of woven textures. Nitik is the most well-known example of this phenomenon.

Traditional and Modern Batik Painting

Batik is a resist method used to create patterns on cloth. Wax or starch can be used as resist material. Wax resist is one of the oldest traditional cloth decorating methods in the world. In the seventh century A.D., it was known in China. Batik methods are also present in Japan, Central and Southeast Asia, Europe, and portions of Africa, as well as previously in India. It was originally done by aristocratic ladies in Indonesia, and each item took several months to finish.

Traditionally utilized colors are red and brown. The simplest known kind of batik is dyeing clothing with monotone blue or red patterns. The region pekalosngn method painted on technique was introduced from India but was replaced by the ret waxing and over-dying process to produce many-colored combinations. 

Around 1850, the first attempts were made to use blocks or Tjap Printing to simplify and speed up the manufacture of batik and waxing. These blocks are made of soldered copper strips and have a rear opening.

Today's fashion is for the artist to design the cloth in whatever way he or she sees fit. More materials are now available, giving batik artists more latitude. Batik is currently used to create a wide range of stunning garments and ornamental objects. Batik was historically used to make sarongs, but because of its expanding popularity, it is also utilized for home furnishings, household items, tablecloths, and pillow covers, among other things.

Although current batik styles have strong ties to more traditional batik, the patterns are primarily influenced by the designer. Similarly, traditional dyes have given way to the use of chemical dyes, which can now generate whatever hue a designer desires.

Batik Indonesia vs Batik Malaysia

One distinction is in the motifs and colors. Indonesian Batik, as we know it, has hundreds of themes from many locations and provinces, ranging from Sabang to Merauke, Minangas to Rote Island, each with a profound philosophical meaning. In contrast, Malaysian Batik has a lot of floral and plant designs. Hues used in Indonesian batik include brown, gold, and black, but Malaysian batik includes vibrant colors like green, pink, and purple.

The Design : In contrast to Indonesian batik, which uses fauna motifs, Malaysian batik often uses floral motifs.

The Themes : Animal prints, such as the "Garuda" bird, are prominent in Indonesian batik, although they are not prominent in Malaysian batik.

The Methodology : Indonesian batik is more elaborate, with tiny dots to form a line for the motifs that were inscribed with their hands beneath, but Malaysian batik is more straightforward.

So, it explains the discrepancies, and I hope that whatever dispute there is over who copies who will simply go away and let us go on with our lives. Knowing that we all hail from the "Serumpun" ('family') of what was formerly the Nusantara/Malay Archipelago, it's no surprise that we share many similarities (and differences) in many aspects of our lives. But keep in mind that, at the end of the day, all knowledge is the Creator's. There is no more to say.