Batik is generally thought of as the most quintessentially Indonesian textile. Motifs of flowers, twinning plants, leaves buds, flowers, birds, butterflies, fish, insects and geometric forms are rich in symbolic association and variety; there are about three thousand recorded batik patterns.

It would be impossible to visit or live in Indonesia and not be exposed to one of the country's most highly developed art forms, batik. On your first visit to a batik store or factory you will undoubtedly experience an overwhelming stimulation of the senses - due to the many colors, patterns and the actual smell of batik. Only through repeated visits and a bit of study will the types of designs and their origins become apparent.

The word batik is thought to be derived from the word 'ambatik' which translated means 'a cloth with little dots'. The suffix 'tik' means little dot, drop, point or to make dots. Batik may also originate from the Javanese word 'tritik' which describes a resist process for dying where the patterns are reserved on the textiles by tying and sewing areas prior to dying, similar to tie dye techniques. Another Javanese phase for the mystical experience of making batik is “mbatik manah” which means “drawing a batik design on the heart”

The Symbolic Meaning of Batik's Motifs

The motifs of Batik, especially with old pattern, as in other field of Javanese tradition are symbolizing something. Might be, this is one of the reasons, why people still adore batik up to present date. Some of the motifs are :

  1. Sido Mulyo : Sido (you should be ), mulyo (happy). Symbolizing 'you should be happy and rich man'.
  2. Sido Dadi : Symbolizing 'you should be a man/woman as you wish (prosperous, high ranking position, wealthy, etc)'.
  3. Satrio Wibowo : Symbolizing 'Man with dignity'.
  4. Tikel Asmorodono :Tikel (more), Asmoro (love), Dono (gift). It is meant the one who wears this batik, should be loved more and more by others.
 Types and Variations of Batik
Javanese Kraton Batik (Javanese court Batik)

Javanese keraton (court) Batik is the oldest batik tradition known in Java. Also known as Batik Pedalaman (inland batik) in contrast with Batik Pesisiran (coastal batik). This type of batik has earthy color tones such as black, brown, and dark yellow (sogan), sometimes against a white background. The motifs of traditional court batik have symbolic meanings. Some designs are restricted: larger motifs can only be worn by royalty; and certain motifs are not suitable for women, or for specific occasions (e.g., weddings).

The palace courts (keratonan) in two cities in central Java are known for preserving and fostering batik traditions:


 Surakarta (Solo City) Batik. Traditional Surakarta court batik is preserved and fostered by the Susuhunan and Mangkunegaran courts. The main areas that produce Solo batik are the Laweyan and Kauman districts of the city. Solo batik typically has sogan as the background color. Pasar Klewer near the Susuhunan palace is a retail trade center.

 Yogyakarta Batik. Traditional Yogya batik is preserved and fostered by the Yogyakarta Sultanate and the Pakualaman court. Usually Yogya Batik has white as the background color. Fine batik is produced at Kampung Taman district. Beringharjo market near Malioboro street is well known as a retail batik trade center in Yogyakarta.

    Pesisir Batik (Coastal Batik)

    Pesisir batik is created and produced by several areas on the northern coast of Java and on Madura. As a consequence of maritime trading, the Pesisir batik tradition was more open to foreign influences in textile design, coloring, and motifs, in contrast to inland batik which was relatively independent of outside influences. For example, Pesisir batik utilizes vivid colors and Chinese motifs such as clouds, phoenix, dragon, qilin, lotus, peony, and floral patterns.

    Pekalongan Batik. The most famous Pesisir Batik production area is the city of Pekalongan in Central Java province.

    Cirebon Batik. Also known as Trusmi Batik because that is the primary production area. The most well known Cirebon batik motif is megamendung (rain cloud) that was used in the former Cirebon kraton. This cloud motif shows Chinese influence.

    Lasem Batik. Lasem batik is characterized by a bright red color called abang getih pithik (chicken blood red).

    Tuban Batik

    Madura Batik

    Garut Batik. This type of batik is produced by Sundanese people in the Garut district of West Java province. Despite applying traditional Javanese court motifs such as parang, Garut batik uses lighter and brighter colors compared to Javanese court batik.

    Baduy Batik. This rare type of batik is produced by Kanekes Baduy Luar ("outer circle Baduy") people in their mountainous region of Banten province. It is characterized by floral patterns that use a limited range colors—black, white, and dark blue—due to the use of natural dyes such as tarum (indigo dye).

    Banten Batik. This type of batik employs bright and soft pastel colors. It represents a revival of a lost art from the Sultanate of Banten, rediscovered through archaeological work during 2002-2004. Twelve motifs from locations such as Surosowan and several other places have been identified.

    Java Hokokai Batik. This type is characterized by flowers in a garden surrounded by butterflies. This motif originated during the Japanese occupation of Java in the early 1940s.

    Balinese Batik. Balinese batik was influenced by neighbouring Javanese Batik and is relatively recent compared to the latter island, having been stimulated by the tourism industry and consequent rising demand for souvenirs (since the early 20th century). In addition to the traditional wax-resist dye technique and industrial techniques such as the stamp (cap) and painting, Balinese batik sometimes utilizes ikat (tie dye). Balinese batik is characterized by bright and vibrant colors, which the tie dye technique blends into a smooth gradation of color with many shades.

    Jambi Batik. Trade relations between the Melayu Kingdom in Jambi and Javanese coastal cities have thrived since the 13th century. Therefore, the northern coastal areas of Java (Cirebon, Lasem, Tuban, and Madura) probably influenced Jambi in regard to batik. In 1875, Haji Mahibat from Central Java revived the declining batik industry in Jambi. The village of Mudung Laut in Pelayangan district is known for producing Jambi batik.. This Malay Jambi batik, as well as Javanese batik, influenced the batik craft in the Malay peninsula.[citation needed]

    Riau Batik.

    Palembang Batik.

    Aceh Batik.

      Maintaning batik
      For batik tulis and batik cap, the following rules apply:

      •    Hand wash, or best just soak the cloth
      •    Use little detergent, best to use lerak
      •    Hang the batik directly, do not squeeze the cloth
      •    Do not hang under direct sunlight
      •    The iron should not directly touch the cloth, best to use steam iron
      •    Silk batik is best dry cleaned
      •    Do not spray perfume to the cloth directly


      1. batik emang keren coy

      2. Good to know about batik. Thank you for posting this informative post about folk arts.

        Those pictures are really nice!

      3. I'm coming my friend, sorry to late, visit me back ok..!!

      4. even i'm indonesian, but until this time i cant choose which is sidodadi, sidomulyo n etc.... xixixi

      5. Batik Indonesia memang keren. Begitu juga dengan batik di Madura. Hehe..

        Salam kenal...

      6. wuihh.. batik Indonesia paling Top deh.. lestarikan batik yuk..!!

      7. Wah... Keren2 batiknya, Gan...


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