Balinese Batik is a Modern Expression of the Artists

In Indonesia one of the most developed forms of art is batik–cloth died in a special way and traditional handmade. It is impossible to miss it on the streets or temples since it is part of Indonesian life. The word batik came from the word ‘ameba tik’ which means ‘a cloth with little dots.’ The suffix ‘tik’ means little spot, drop, point or “to make dots”.

Natural materials such as cotton or silk are used for the cloth so that it can absorb the wax that is applied in the dye resisting process. The fabrics must be densely woven, and the cloth that is used for batik is washed and boiled in water many times before the application of wax so that all traces of starches, lime, chalk and other sizing materials are removed.

For hundreds of years, the batik Kain Panjang, 2.5 meter-long cloth, was wrapped around the body and worn every day by commoners and royalty in Indonesia. All the way to the late 1970 and early ’80s of the 20th century, many women wore only batik Kain Panjang. Nad then in 1960s batik fabric was printed into blouses, skirts, men’s shirts and other garments.

Batik making on the island of Bali is relatively new, but a fast-growing industry. Zou can see it many places and many patterns are inspired by local designs, which are favored by the local Balinese and domestic tourists. Prints that represent Balinese batik are in- spired by nature – frangipani and hibiscus flowers, fishes and colorful birds. You can also find Balinese dancers, religious ceremonies and mythological creatures such as Barong, Kala and winged lion on the batik.

Contemporary batik is not limited to traditional or ritual wearing in Bali. Some design- ers promote batik Bali as the elegant fabric that can be used to make casual or formal cloth. Using high-class batik, like hand made batik tulis, which is the most expensive one, shows social status.■

Bali Pocket Magazine