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The Story of Batik


Records of art of Wax resist dyeing of fabric goes as back as 2400 years ago to Egypt where linen was soaked in wax and later scratched using a stylus, Chinese, Indians and Japanese practiced this method between 7th and 10th Centuries. African tribes in Nigeria have also ben recorded to use a similiar technique however instead of beeswax-that was unavailable to them-they used mud or rice paste. Batik never stopped to amaze the artists or its fans though all the years of its existence with the unending potential for novelty of motifs that it provides and the unique essence that is found in every single batik piece printed.

Batik as we know it has its origins in Jawa, a small island-in present day Indonesia where its people, developed this art beyond what other nations had achieved before. Jawa was the perfect setting for batik to thrive with its rich flora making a much wider spectrum of dyes available to the painters and an abundance of bees wax and cotton, ready for the Batik artists. Europe got to know about Batik when the book History of Java, Published in London in 1817 by Stamford Raffles, who had been a British governor for the island. In 1873 the Dutch merchant Van Rijckevorsel gave the pieces he collected during a trip to Indonesia to the ethnographic museum in Rotterdam. Today the Trope museum houses the biggest collection of Indonesian batik in the Netherlands. Displayed at the Exposition Universelle at Paris in 1900, the Indonesian batik impressed the public and artists.

Batik is basically the art of printing unrepeatable patterns on textile using a reserving material made of wood or metal, which is transferred to the cloths using molds, and the empty parts being painted later, this process can be repeated several times to create different and more complex motifs. In Iran the most sophisticated batik art is found in the North Eastern city of Osku in East Azerbaijan province.