Batik (Javanese pronunciation: [ˈbateʔ]; Indonesian pronunciation: [ˈbaːtik]; English: /ˈbætɪk/ or /bəˈtiːk/) is cloth which uses the hand written wax-resist dyeing technique. Due to modern advances in the textile industry the term has also been used for fabrics which incorporates the traditional batik patterns although not necessarily produced using the wax-resist dyeing techniques. Silk batik is especially popular. Javanese traditional batik, especially from Yogyakarta and Surakarta, has special meanings rooted to the Javanese conceptualization of the universe. Traditional colours include indigo, dark brown, and white which represent the three major Hindu Gods (Brahmā, Visnu, and Śiva). This is related to the fact that natural dyes are only available in indigo and brown. Certain patterns can only be worn by nobility; traditionally, wider stripes or wavy lines of greater width indicated higher rank. Consequently, during Javanese ceremonies, one could determine the royal lineage of a person by the cloth he or she was wearing. Other regions of Indonesia have their own unique patterns which normally take themes from everyday lives, incorporating patterns such as flowers, nature, animals, folklore or people. The colors of pesisir batik, from the coastal cities of northern Java, is especially vibrant, and it absorbs influence from the Javanese, Chinese and Dutch culture. In the colonial times pesisir batik was a favorite of the Peranakan Chinese, Dutch and Eurasians. Batik or fabrics with the traditional batik patterns are also found in several countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Eygpt, Iran and Singapore. Malaysian batik normally displays plants and flowers due to the Islamic culture in the country.
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 *beCík, meaning 'to tattoo' from the use of a needle in the process. The word is first recorded in English in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1880, in which it is spelled battik. It is attested in the Indonesian Archipelago during the Dutch colonial period in various forms: mbatek, mbatik, batek and batik.
Batik is an ancient art form. Discoveries showed it already exists in the Middle East, India and Central Asia over 2000 years ago. In Java, Indonesia, batik predates written records, but some experts argue that the technique might be introduced during the 6th or 7th century from India. Batik was mentioned in the 17th century Sulalatus Salatin Malaysian literature, the story goes when Laksamana Hang Nadim was ordered by Sultan Mahmud to sail to India to get 140 pieces of serasah cloth/batik with 40 types of flower each. Unable to find any that fulfilled the requirements, he made up his own. On his return unfortunately, his ship sank and he only managed to bring four pieces, earning displeasure from the Sultan. In Europe, the technique is described for the first time in the History of Java, published in London in 1817 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who was governor of the island. In 1873 the Dutch merchant Van Rijekevorsel gave the pieces he collected during a trip to Indonesia to the ethnographic museum in Rotterdam. And it was indeed starting from the early 19th century that the art of batik really grew finer and reached its golden period.Exposed to the Universal Exhibition of Paris of 1900, the Indonesian batik impressed the public and the artisans. In the end of the 19th century, Rouffaer, reported that the gringsing pattern has been created on the 12th century Kediri, East Java, he analyzed such intricate pattern can only be created with the canting (also spelled tjanting or tjunting; IPA: [tʃantɪŋ]). Thus he proposed the canting was invented prior to the 12th century in Java. Due globalization and industrialization, which...