Batik: Wearable Art


At an official scientific conference or a wedding in Indonesia, you won’t see the same suit everywhere; instead, the room will be full of batik with bold patterns and bright colors. Batik is a traditional form cloth making where patterns are hand draw and dyed on to fabrics. In Indonesia, it is worn at both casual and formal events. The patterns in the batik fabric represent people’s personalities, certain area of Indonesia or an idea like good luck. Batik is not just an ancient tradition; it is also a symbol of modern-day Indonesia.

What tradition did I learn about?:

Batik is a traditional way to make patterns on cloth. There are several stories about where this practice originated: some historians believe it started in Egypt in the 4th century, but others claim it started in India in the 7th century. Regardless of where it originated, batik thrived in Java, Indonesia and is believed to have arrived at the island by the 7th century.

Batik is a fabric dyeing process used to make intricate patterns. To make batik an artist uses a tool called a canting to draw out their desired pattern using dye-resistant wax. The cloth is then dyed and the wax is later removed revealing the pattern below. Originally, this process was all done by hand and patterns with more colors meant more wax and time.