Monday, December 22, 2008

Batik Cirebon (Cirebonese Batik)



"Batik" is derived from the Javanese words of "amba" (to write) and "titik" (dots). The word "batik" refers to a painted or printed piece of cloth or fabric produced by applying wax (called "malam") that blocks dye colors to produce the desired designs and patterns.

The practice of Batik making has existed in the Indonesian archipelago for a long time. Historical records written on lontar palm leaves show that Batik making (industry?) was already thriving in the Javanese Kingdom of Majapahit (whose territory, according to a historical account, covered most of what is now the Indonesian archipelago, Singapore, Malaysia, the southern parts of Cambodia and Thailand, and the southern parts of the Philippines) in the 14th Century C.E.

There are a lot of varieties of batik in Indonesia. Among the most prominent of these are Batik Pekalongan (named after a town on the northern coast of Central Java), Batik Solo, Batik Jogja (Solo and Jogja are the names of two cities and Javanese cultural centers in the southeast part of Central Java), and Batik Cirebon (named after a coastal city in the north east of the West Java Province).

According to batik experts, Batik Cirebon is unique in that it has more multicultural characteristic in its patterns and colors than those produced in the Javanese hinterland cities like Solo and Jogja. It usually has bolder and more vibrant colors, e.g. red, blue and green, and more varieties of patterns that reflects the influences that the coastal trading post of Cirebon has received from the Moslem, Chinese, Indian, and European traders visiting this town.

The women in the photo are a family of Cirebonese batik makers who recently took part in the Kemilau Nusantara tourism and cultural exhibition in Bandung.

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

11 comments:

Photo Cache said...

I like markets like this. I enjoy the batik fabric but I have yet to have a cloth made of batik.

Carrie Hayes said...

I do like the colors in this shot! Well done. I hope you have a great holiday season!!

Rissa Ramadhani F said...

as i knew, amba means "panjang", sir. but maybe there is another meaning of amba. =)

actually i was born in Cirebon, and my family lived in there.

i have a lot of cirebonese batik, my grandma always give me every year.

by the way, thanks to you, sir. you brought forward to show cirebonese batik to the public. i really appreciated that.

PJ said...

I love batik and never tire of it. I wish I had been there, all those colors, it looks so beautiful.

J.C. said...

I always try to bring a piece of batik sarong with me while travelling. It's very convenient ~ where I can use it either as a blanket, or a cover while changing, or just as a skirt! A very versatile piece of cloth!

the donG said...

some of those batik are being sold here and most of them if not all, came from there.

uncleawang said...

We are not allowed to bring more than 2 Indonesian batik from Sarikin boder market to Kuching city.I don't know the reason.By the way most people in Kuching prefer Indonesian batiks.

babooshka said...

The textiles are so rich in color as must be the converstaion.

Mahmud Yussop said...

Beautiful batik. Beautiful people. Beautiful to wear.

ramblingwoods said...

I was able to go to a little shop on the island of St. Kitts and see them making these beautiful fabrics, but I didn't know the history. They are just beautiful...

Vannya Azzahra said...

Batik cirebon is also called batik Trusmi. The characteristic of batik Cirebon is influenced by its culture and the coastal area. The familiar motif of Batik cirebon is sea waves. Sometimes when I meet someone in Bandung who wear Batik cirebon...hem...honestly...I am so proud being cirebonese...:)