Batik Art


Batik is a process of decorating cloth by covering a part of it with a coat of wax and then dyeing the cloth. The waxed areas keep their original color and when the wax is removed the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas gives the pattern. One of the significant features of this art is that it is very simple and can be done by anyone.


The history of Indian batik can be traced as far back as 2000 years. Indians knew resist method of printing designs on cotton fabrics long before any other country had even tried it. Indian cotton and dyes were very popular. The indigo blue was one of the earliest dyes to be used. The elaborate process of dyeing and waxing was one of the hitch that caused the art to decline.

Key Centers of Batik

Batik art received an impetus when it was introduced as a subject at the famous university of Shantiniketan in Calcutta. Chola Mandal in Madras is also popular for its Batik product.

Outside India, Indonesia is considered the cradle of batik with its many designs, which are restricted for different wearers and occasions. Indonesian batik has characters of mystic and ritualistic connection. Objects like flowers, trees, birds have a significant meaning.

The Sawat in Javanese batik has its origins in Hindu mythology, as it is the decorative form of Garuda, Lord Vishnu's bird. 'Sidomukti' is another Hindu influence in batik. 'Mukti' means happiness and prosperity in the Hindu mythology. While Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are known for their block printing (tjab) method to create batik on a large scale, in Sri Lanka batik is still made by hand. The art of Batik is also practiced in some African countries.

Batik Technique

The art of batik is a three-stage process of waxing, dyeing and dewaxing (removing the wax). There are also several sub-processes like preparing the cloth, tracing the designs, stretching the cloth on the frame, waxing the area of the cloth that does not need dyeing, preparing the dye, dipping the cloth in dye, boiling the cloth to remove wax and washing the cloth in soap.

The characteristic effects of the batik are the fine cracks that appears in the wax, which allow small amounts of the dye to seep in. The use of wax properly is also important to get the desired pattern. 30 per cent beeswax and 70 per cent paraffin wax should be used. During application wax should not be overheated or it will catch fire. Cloths like cambric, poplin, voiles, and pure silk are used. Natural colors derived from barks of trees, leaves, flowers and minerals were used.

Today, tjaping with a copper block is also used to meet the demand of the customers.

Various Methods

Batik is created in several ways like splash method, screen-printing method, and hand painting one is by a Kalamkari pen.

Handicrafts Trade
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