Batik – An Identity of Indonesia

Indonesia is a multicultural country which consists of thousand islands and tribes. The differences of demography and geography cause cultural differences, including the outfits worn by each tribe. Batik is one of the outfits that are quite popular, and its popularity has been known worldwide.

If you watch TV and see the President of Indonesia talking in public or in international conferences, you may see him wearing such an ethnic shirt with unique motifs. That is what so called batik, the national clothes of Indonesia citizens.

In some occasions, Indonesian may wear their traditional outfits, such as kebaya, baju kurung, ulos, etc. But when they come to national events, batik talks much. This outfit is a symbol of unity. It is a uniform which is considered as a must. This is a way to show how proud they are to be Indonesia citizens.

Indonesian Batik has been claimed as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity for all the techniques, technology, motif development, and the cultural values needed to make a piece of it. It is because the process includes two factors: coloring techniques and the choice of the motifs. This step is not easy since every motif should have a characteristic.

Indonesian believe that the existence of Batik started in Majapahit era, and increasingly popular in the end of 18th century or he beginning of 19th century. Batik was actually purely handmade, but later on, as the technology has developed, it is mostly printed. What supports this change the most is the amount of orders. The handmade ones do need long time of painting, but the printed ones need shorter time.

Years ago, batik was only worn in formal occasions. At that time, Indonesian tend to choose batik instead of tuxedo or other formal outfits. But today, batik is even worn by students and employees as their uniform in certain days, such as every Friday.

In some families, Batik is even considered as a tradition. It makes them have their own motifs which are different from other families. It is like their identity, since the motifs can even show their economical status. Until now, the traditional motifs are still used by the family of Yogyakarta and Surakarta residence. Batik is probably the most unique outfit you have ever known. Where else you can find that brands do not talk much, but motifs do?