History of Batik Pattern: Parang

The pattern of Parang is diagonal lines in the angle position that across with straight lines  (vertical) so that create an ornament like knife blade that separated by a half cut of ketupat (rice cube wrapped with coconut leaves shaped into quadrilateral) is called mlinjon (mlinjo is derived from a tree or fruit of Gnetum gnemon). Parang without mlinjon is the pattern of lereng.The meaning of parang as a knife or sword has been argued among the anthropologist.

One of the patterns were reserved exclusively for royal attire It is 'Parang Rusak' Design delivers physical and mental control which is consisting of a series thick knife-like forms. :: Courtesy of hedabatik.

The famous design of parang is Parang Rusak. There is an argument about the ages and history.  Many people did the research in until the period of Raden Panji (11th century), a hero from the Kingdom of Kediri and Jenggala, East Java. Others related the history of Parang Rusak with the legend of Sultan Agung from the Kingdom of Mataram (1613-1645) as the creator. They believe that Sultan Agung did the meditation in the South Coast of Java, gazed the big waves hit the rock wildly . In Javanese, Parang ís karang (rock), so Parang Rusak also means ‘broken rock.



History of Batik Pattern: Kawung

Batik patterns have developed from the point of aesthetic orientation. The patterns of geometric were introduced over the centuries since the 8th century which was found in  Prambanan Temple. The pattern of Kawung can be classified as Ceplok but because of its antique and simplicity, Kawung was recognized as the separate category in batik patterns. The history of kawung refers to the historical temples in Central Java.

Batik Kawung ...hedaBATIK

Courtesy of hedaBATIK

Basically, the pattern of kawung consists few of circles or eclipses that in contacted or crossed each other. The word of kawung itself has delivered some misleading contexts. Some people understand as the fruit of palm tree.

Rouffaer, an European scientist who was studied about batik patterns, considered the pattern of kawung came from other antique pattern which was called  geringsing (gringsing), also called Pararaton, The history of Kings of East Java in the 14th Century. Geringsing consists of small circles with dots in the middle that stacked like fish scales or snake skin. Rouffaer thought geringsing has developed became circles in the pattern of kawung. 

Batik Peranakan

Batik Peranakan were born through intermarriage with Javanese women, a strong Chinese/Javanese mixed population evolved along the north coast of Java. Not only happened between Javanese and Chinese but also Arabs and Dutch of the colonial period  left behind mixed race descendants with their own cultural characteristics.

The term of Sarung Encim is also one of batik pattern which has strong influenced from Chinese culture and  opt to use mix colors, like olive and orange. The most are pastels.

Indo-European batik was also a special style. The typical designs are animals and plants, pictorial scenes like Chinese theater, Dutch colonization, spice trading and etc. Batik Peranakan has its own uniqueness even though did not deliver the symbolic meanings and philosophical values as Javanese batik genre. Don’t be surprised if you see the figures of shadow puppet combined with Tulip Flower, plane, warship or Little Red Riding Hood!**

Batik Priangan

Batik Priangan is a term used to identify the variety of batik cloths which is produced in the regions of West Java and Northwest Java. The word ‘Priangan’ is derived from the word of ‘Parahyangan’ meaning citizens of the heaven or the gods’ dwelling. Also, Priangan means the home of gods.

The word of Priangan is indicating the beauty of natural land and values in West Java. So Batik Priangan is obviously batik which is enriched with Sundanese culture, which covers the towns and regent areas of Cianjur, Bandung, Sumedang, Garut, Tasikmalaya and Ciamis. Unfortunately, only Garut, Tasikmalaya and Ciamis are still producing till today but relatively small production.

The fame of Batik Priangan is not as strong as Batik Kraton and Batik Pasisiran. Batik Priangan generally has the basic pattern of the ornaments if comparing to Batik Kraton. **

[photo will come soon]

Batik in Literature: Spiritual Dimension

Spiritual dimension of batik-making are particularly the rich culture, symbolic meaning and life values. The process of making batik is filled with terminology with deep meanings and moral lessons from the very beginning until accomplished or called mbabar.

The collection of literary works that explain the deeper meaning of batik are called suluk. These works are sung while the batik artist is working. So during the process of making batik, the artist often chants and sing to gather the inspiration from their spiritual relationship.

Below is the first part of Suluk Prawan mBathik, translated from the original Javanese. Suluk Prawan mBathik, among other literary works, serves as an important source of information for understanding batik.

This song of Suluk Bathik marks the beginning of the batik process. Please begin to make your batik, the woven cloth is already prepared. But don’t forget the pattern and please be careful. What is still lacking? The raw cloth is smooth. The wax is so white, because a little lanceng resin was added. The canting rengrengan is also ready for use. [Suluk mBatik kang pinurweng singir, lah ta wus babo bathiken pisan, tenunan wus panigase. Ywa tinggal polanipun, lawan sira den ngati-ati. Kang winadan punapa? Dhasaripun alus, mamira pethak, wus dinuga lanceng sedheng sawatawis, acanthing pengengrengan.]

There is 14 parts of this Suluk Prawan mBathik.**

(Source: Sekaring Jagad Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat – Astuti Hendrato Darmosugito)




Batik in Literature: Physical Dimension

There are two dimensions of batik educational value: physical and spiritual dimensions. The physical dimension is usually simpler and easier to understand.

To make batik, clear instructions and guidance are available related to equipment, tools and raw materials to be used. In this aspect, there is also a recommended sitting posture on the wooden stool, hold the patterned fabric and a certain way to use canting.

The hot molten wax will not flow through the tiny copper tunnel if not hot enough. The right timing is considered significant.** (Source: Sekaring Jagad Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat – Astuti Hendrato Darmosugito)

Batik Pasisiran

The word pasisir means on the coast, but in batik term, pasisiran indicates to the regional along the north coast of Java.

Silk Batik Pasisir with tumpal from Cirebon. ::Courtesy of hedabatik.

Based on the origin regional of batik, mainly two have been recognized as the most distinctive batik:

  1. Batik Kraton or Royal Batik – which is associated with the royal courts in Yogyakarta and Surakarta.
  2. Batik Pasisiran or North Coast of Batik – which is associated with vibrant colours, free and dynamic patterns and also have the strong influences from China, Europe and Arab.

Batik complongan from Indramayu :: Courtesy of hedabatik

For centuries, the seaports along the north coast of Java have been trading centers for a wide variety goods, including Indian textiles, which were mainly traded for spices. There was also lively trade with China. Since the Middle Ages, enclaves of Arabs, Indians and Chinese have settled in these ports.

Batik Pasisir from Demak ::Courtesy of hedabailey

North Coast of Java where batik are produced in Indramayu, Cirebon, Tegal, Pekalongan, Semarang, Demak, Jepara, Kudus, Pati, Lasem, Rembang, Tuban, Pacitan, Gresik, Sidoarjo, Pasuruan and Madura. Regional of Cirebon and Gresik, they had their own royal courts.

Batik with 'parang seling sekar' - Private collection. Courtesy of hedabatik

Originally, batik pasisiran were based on Indian export textiles in terms of palette, design and layout. Kain panjang (long cloth or hip cloth) or sarung (sarong) typically have a tumpal (a row of pointed triangles at each end and a narrow encompassing border). The pattern of buketan (flower bouquet), lokcan, shrubs in bloom, floral vines and sea creatures are also typical of Batik Pasisiran. **
(Source: Batik Rudolf G. Smend Collection)