Batik is not just a pattern on fabric – it is integral to Indonesian identity.
Every design has a special meaning and a story that has been passed down through the generations by the artisans who have mastered this craft.
Batik is a wearable art created through an intricate process involving wax-resist dyeing cloth and is believed to date back more than 1,000 years in Indonesia. Artists can create complex patterns and add multiple colours by repeating the drawing and dyeing process.
In modern society, it is rare for fashion to last years, let alone centuries, but batik is a living example of a timeless creation. It continues to be worn by all members of society, mostly on formal occasions.
The popularity of the art form was assisted in 2009 when the UNESCO listed batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity – or a significant piece of intangible cultural history.
This article examines batik production in Cirebon and the move to the use of natural dyes by some craftspeople.
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