Indonesia receive recognition from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that has declared Indonesian Batik as a world legacy
What is Batik?
Batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique used on textile. 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 batik techniques. Silk batik is especially popular.
Javanese traditional batik, especially from Yogyakarta, has special meanings rooted to the Javanese conceptualization of the universe. Traditional colors include indigo, dark brown, and white which represent the three major Hindu Gods (Brahm?, Vi??u, and ?iva). 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 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 similar to the Indonesian batik are also found in several countries such as West Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda and Mali, the Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia, and in Asia, such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. Malaysian batik normally displays plants and flowers due to the Islamic culture in the country.
The beauty of Batik is a tribute to the patience, creativity of the woman of Java, the main island of Indonesia. Credit should be also given to men who prepare the cloth and handle the dyeing and finishing process.
The word “batik” is Indonesian in origin, even if the concept was known by Egyptians and Indians.
It is known to be more than a millennium old, and there are evidences that cloth decorated through some form of resist technique was in use in the early centuries AD in several West African, Middle-Eastern and Asian communities.
The word Batik is originally an Indonesian-Malay word and means to dot .
History of Batik
This art of textile is spread in the hindu and malay world, but Indonesia is certainly the heart of the Batik. This way of painting and coloring textile has reached its higher degree of excellence in the Island of Java , in cities like Solo, Yogyakarta, Pekalongan or Cirebon.
From Java this ‘batik’ cloth was exported to other islands of the archipelago and to the Malay peninsula. During the past two or three centuries batik has become one of the principal means of expression of the spiritual and cultural values of Southeast Asia.
Finely detailed designs are first drawn freehand with a pencil on the textile. Then hot liquid wax is applied. A Javanese woman applying wax in the intricately involved patterns with a canting (tjanting), a small copper container with a long slender spout. From time to time she blows on the tip of the canting to secure an easy flow of the wax.
Areas not slated for coloring are filed with the wax. the cloth is then passed through a vat of dye. The wax is removed with hot water, scraped from the portions of the dried material still to be dyed. Next, other areas are waxed over. this is repeated during each phase of the coloring process, up to four or more times, until the overall pattern and effect are achieved.
The pride of Indonesians to wear batik till the present day has preserve this art of textile.
Batik in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage for Indonesia
Recently, the Jakarta post reported that Indonesia has diligently made all efforts to request that batik be included on the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.
Gaura Mancacaritadipura, a dalang (a shadow puppeteer) who is a consultant for the nomination process, said, “What we have requested to be listed is the negative-printed batik: batik that is painted or printed manually by hand.”
Members of the committee tasked to collect the documentation needed for the batik listing have been interviewing the grass roots and recording batik-related activities in communities since 2007.
“We invited prominent figures in the batik world from many cities: Malang, Tuban, they all came and welcomed the efforts to put batik on the UNESCO list,” Batik has been part of Indonesian people’s lives for centuries. “As an example, for hundreds of years batik has been a part of the labuhan ritual, the tradition of throwing one’s troubles into the sea in materials that sail away.”
Gaura added, “UNESCO requires the documentation to not only come from experts, but also, and more importantly, to come from communities. A subsidiary body made a decision in May which has not yet been disclosed,”
Six countries were in the subsidiary body: Kenya, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Mexico and Estonia.The Intergovernmental Committee – the UNESCO assembly in October consisting of 24 countries – will make the final decision on the list.
Dindin Wahyudin, the country’s deputy ambassador for UNESCO, said the effort to put batik on the list was not about property or copyright but about safeguarding culture in certain regions. It is about preservation. “This also has nothing to do with Malaysia taking out copyrights on batik,” he said, adding that what Malaysia recently claimed as their copyrights were certain batik patterns, not batik as a cultural heritage.
Dindin said Malaysia had not ratified the convention and so far no other country had requested a similar item to batik to be put on the list. Both Dindin and Gaura said Indonesia was justifiably optimistic that batik would be included on the list. Gaura said batik was found in 19 out of the 33 provinces in the country. From Aceh to Papua, batik is everywhere, with patterns unique to the region. And we are talking about the real batik, which involves a different process to the mass industrial printing process.
If batik succeeds in making it onto the list, UNESCO’s support will go directly to the people and not through any government agency as we received as a result of the inclusion of wayang and keris on the list. Keris, the Javanese traditional dagger, made it onto the list in 2003, while wayang, the Javanese leather puppet, in 2005.
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Indonesia to receive recognition from UNESCO
The Embassy of Indonesia and Tempo Interactive further reported that The head of the Sekar Jagad Foundation, Suliantor Sulaiman (one of several batik lover foundations that provided data and statements about Indonesian batik to UNESCO) announced that Indonesia would receive recognition from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that has declared Indonesian Batik as a world legacy. “This will be announced on 02 October 2009,” added Sulaiman.
For more information about batik Indonesia and to show your support for Batik, see Batik Indonesia Facebook Fans