Using Batik on National Batik Day, Did You Know the History of Batik?

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Batik is one of Indonesia’s cultural heritage that is recognized by the world and entered into the UNESCO (United Nations of Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Intangible Cultural Heritage List  10 years ago, precisely on October 2, 2009. At that time, the government asking all state officials and employees to use batik. Therefore, October 2 is set to be the national batik day. But do you know the history of batik itself?

Batik is a painting activity that is carried out on cloth using wax night repeatedly. The language of batik is taken from the Javanese language that is “ambatik” which means, “amba” means writing and “tik” means a dot. So, “ambatik” has the meaning of writing a dot. Batik is usually made with wax that is useful to prevent color from absorbing into the fabric fibers.


The history of batik begins in the 17th century AD. At that time batik in Indonesia was still made using palm leaves and traditional house boards. Motives that existed at that time were not many, usually, batik found at that time was planted or animal-patterned. And also at that time batik was just a side activity for fun.

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In the era of the Majapahit kingdom, Indonesian people were already familiar with batik. The spread of batik in Indonesia occurred in the late 18th century or early 19th century. At first, batik was used only by the Keraton people. Like the clothes of the king, the royal family and also the clothes of workers who work inside the Keraton. And because the workers live outside the Keraton, so many of them bring batik work outside the Keraton. And after that many of the people began to imitate batik. Even batik becomes a permanent job for housewives in their spare time.

Nowadays Batik has become a thing that can be owned by all groups in Indonesia and batik is also not only women. And now batik also has more motifs than before. In the Majapahit era, 2 motifs became a trend at that time, Plant and animal motifs. When Islam entered Java and spread to the community, animal-shaped batik motifs were negated because of violating Islamic Sharia rules.

Indonesia has 10 different types of batik from several regions in Indonesia. Such as Megamendung batik, Pekalongan Seven Forms, Keraton, Parang Rusak, Priyangan Tasikmalaya, Lasem, Bali, Pring Sedapur Magetan, Malang, and Betawi. And there is also batik which is a blend of 3 regions, namely Batik Tiga Negeri (BTN). This batik is made in Lasem, Solo, and Pekalongan. And the price of batik is quite even and long process.

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