Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A short history of batik

Distinctive patterned and dyed fabric from the East Indies, brought to Europe by the Dutch in the 16thC. In the batik process, melted wax is applied to parts of the design not intended to take colour, and the cloth is then dyed. This is repeated as necessary for other colours, the wax being washed out with hot water after each dyeing. Some batik is also hand-painted. The process was used in the 16th and 17thC Europe for dyeing expensive facbrics such as velvet, but the bold batik colours and patterns were printed on cotton and dyed by other processes from the 19thC.

There are several steps to make batik. Apply melted wax to cloth, then dipped in dye. To Make any shape within it, use tjanting. Tjanting is the tool used for applying hot wax by hand. The tjanting is made of two element: a copper bowl with a spout, and a bamboo holder into which the copper part is inserted. Tjanting with fine spouts are used for the most delicate lines, while a wide spouts allows the wax to flow quickly over background areas. Rosettes of five or seven dots are made with a tjanting which has multiple spouts. The other tool used for create design is tjap, or wooden or metal designed block which is used as the stamp on textile.

Batik or fabrics with the traditional batik patterns are found in (particularly) Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, Azerbaijan, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and Singapore.

Batik makers in the first half of 20th century

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