Origin of Batik and interesting history and worldwide influence

Gerald Chan ·

Batik is a classic fabric-making method that employs wax-resist colouring to produce elaborate patterns on fabrics. The origins of batik may be traced back to Indonesia's ancient civilizations, where the art has been performed for over 1,500 years.


Sunda batik motif ( Picture)

The term "batik" is thought to have originated from the Javanese word "tritik," which means "to draw with a broken line." Batik was first discovered in Indonesia in the 6th century, on a variety of antique objects such as pottery pieces and temple walls. Nonetheless, it is usually assumed that the art of batik predates these items by hundreds of years.

Batik was first utilised in the royal courts of Java to manufacture clothing for the nobles. The elaborate motifs and the talent required to make them made the method highly recognised. Batik gradually extended beyond the royal courts and became popular among the common public.

After the Dutch East India Company developed a trading partnership with Indonesia in the 17th century, batik began to earn international reputation. Batik immediately became a sought-after item, and the Dutch began exporting it back to Europe. Over the 18th and 19th centuries, batik rose in prominence in Europe, and it was eventually embraced by high fashion designers such as Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel.

The Indonesian nationalist movement began to use batik as a symbol of national identity in the early twentieth century. The approach was considered as a means to honour Indonesia's rich cultural past while also resisting colonialism. Batik manufacture grew more prevalent during this period, and the technique began to grow to include more contemporary designs and themes.

Batik is now a widely regarded art form in Indonesia, practised by craftsmen all throughout the nation. It has also achieved worldwide attention, and UNESCO has designated it as a Masterpiece of Humanity's Oral and Intangible Heritage. Other nations, such as India, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka, have been inspired by batik to create alternative wax-resist dying processes.

Second source:

Examples of batik clothes may be traced back to several Indian and Egyptian locations where the textile was a component of commerce from 5,000 BC to the 5th century. Archaeologists discovered evidence of this in Pharaoh's tomb, in the shape of a wax indigo fabric dated approximately 5000 BC, indicating the usage of wax in textile manufacture at the time.

The earliest batik textile (from the 5th century) was discovered in the Toraja Regency on the island of Sulawesi.

From the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries
With the development of Islamic countries throughout this period, batik's ideology and themes underwent several alterations.


Natural dyes: In Thailand, batik is frequently created with natural colours derived from plants and insects. These dyes are widely valued for their brilliant colours and environmental friendliness. Indigo, turmeric, and jackfruit are some of the most widely used natural colours in Thailand batik.

Thailand batik frequently contains traditional Thai themes and designs, such as elephants, lotus blossoms, and dragons.


Myanmar batik is called in Burmese as "htamein," which means "longyi," a traditional garment worn by both men and women in Myanmar.

Myanmar batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique in which wax is applied to the cloth in elaborate motifs using an instrument called a tjanting or a brush. The wax serves as a dye resist, stopping the dye from permeating the fabric where it has been applied.

Myanmar batik is often made of cotton or silk, and the designs are frequently influenced by traditional Burmese themes such as lotus blossoms, peacocks, and legendary animals.

Myanmar batik is an essential element of the country's cultural legacy, having been passed down through generations of craftspeople.

In recent years, Burmese batik has acquired international acclaim, with some designers blending the ancient art style into their modern fashion creations.

The Myanmar government designated Myanmar batik as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018, recognising its cultural value and the need to preserve and develop the art form for future generations.


The word "batik" comes from the Javanese word "mbatik," which meaning to dot. In the Philippines, a comparable traditional textile art style known as "banaca" or "panubok" incorporates a hand-made dotted pattern.

The T'boli tribe of Mindanao, Philippines, has a traditional weaving method known as "t'nalak," which is similar to batik in that it incorporates resist-dyeing. Handmade from abaca fibres, the fabric is patterned with natural colours and wax resist.

There was a renaissance of traditional Filipino textile art in the twentieth century, with a campaign to promote indigenous materials such as the t'nalak and other handwoven textiles. This movement contributed to a greater understanding and appreciation of the country's rich textile tradition.


Batik has been performed for at least 2,000 years in Africa, with batik fabrics going back to ancient Egypt.

The "adire" fabric of the Yoruba people of Nigeria is one of the most well-known styles of African batik. Adire is created by a resist-dyeing method that includes adding wax or starch to the cloth to form a pattern before dying it with natural indigo.

The "kanga" fabric of East Africa, mainly Tanzania and Kenya, is another popular style of African batik. Kanga fabric is known for its bright, vivid designs and is used for a number of functions, including clothing, headscarves, and communication.

Several African tribes see batik textiles as having spiritual and cultural importance.


Batik manufacture has a long history in China, reaching back to the sixth century. Batik is still practised today by minority groups such as the Miao, Bouyei, and Gejia, who dwell mostly in Yunnan and Guizhou regions in south western China. Additionally, because some of these people (especially the Miao) have been moving out of China and into neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos during the 18th and 19th centuries, traditional textiles such as batik may also be found there. The Miao people are also known as the H'mong outside of China; they are the same people.


Max Bucherer, a German artist, invented the "Buchara method" of resist dyeing in the early twentieth century. This method includes putting wax in a pattern to cloth and then colouring it to create a design. Buchara method, while not precisely a kind of batik, is comparable in idea and has been used to make ornamental textiles and apparel.

Germany has a long and strong textile industry legacy, with numerous well-known textile enterprises and brands coming from the nation. German textiles are well-known for their high quality, durability, and creative design.

In recent years, Germany has seen an increase in interest in sustainable and eco-friendly textile production, with an emphasis on using natural fibres and organic dyes to make ecologically friendly and socially responsible clothing.

German textile design and invention has influenced global fashion and home décor, with German businesses like as Schumacher, Kvadrat, and Zimmer + Rohde making textiles utilised by designers and customers worldwide.

The Bauhaus movement, which began in Germany in the early twentieth century, had a significant impact on modern design and art, especially textile art. Several Bauhaus artists and designers experimented with new types of textile art, including as weaving, dyeing, and printing.


The Dutch East India Company, a 17th-century commercial business founded by the Dutch, was instrumental in the creation and spread of batik in Indonesia. The corporation created trading operations in Indonesia and fostered the manufacturing of highly priced batik fabrics in Europe.

In the nineteenth century, Holland became a key hub for the trading and manufacture of batik textiles. Dutch traders built contacts with Indonesian batik makers and began shipping huge amounts of batik fabrics to Europe.

In the nineteenth century, Holland also became a hub for batik fabric imitation, with Dutch textile makers producing machine-printed reproductions of batik motifs.


Batik is not a traditional textile art form in the Arab world, but it has been introduced and adopted in various forms in several Arab countries. Here are some interesting things about batik in the Arab world:

Batik fabrics are popular among artists and craftspeople in the Arab world who are interested in creating unique clothing and home decor items. Many of these artists use traditional batik techniques, while others experiment with new forms of batik and batik-inspired designs.

Batik fabrics have been incorporated into traditional clothing in some Arab countries. For example, in Yemen, the traditional men's robe known as the jambiya is sometimes made with batik fabrics.

Batik fabrics are also used in contemporary Arab fashion, particularly in designer collections that incorporate traditional textile techniques from around the world. Arab designers often blend the traditional with the contemporary to create innovative and stylish pieces.

In some Arab countries, batik techniques have been adapted to local materials and designs. For example, in Tunisia, a traditional batik-like textile called fouta is made using locally sourced cotton and natural dyes.

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