Sarongs and the Art of Batik
We like to focus on the amazing versatility of the sarong, but did you ever wonder what gives sarongs their stunning and original designs and those vibrant colors? Itâ€™s the batik process thatâ€™s used. Batik is an ancient art that has been practiced over the centuries in different parts of Asia, Africa, and India. Indonesia and Java are noted for their long history of making fine batik clothing and decorative items.
Tahitians brought their art to the island of Hawaii long before it was part of the United States, and Hawaii has developed its own tradition of batik.
The ancient tradition of using wax and dye is still practiced in many of these countries. Areas of the cloth are brushed with wax, and the cloth is then dyed. The areas covered with wax resist the dye and retain their original color. Highly skilled craftspeople repeat the process for more elaborate designs. After the process is complete, the wax is removed and the piece is ready.
The word â€œbatikâ€ is thought by some to be derived from a Malay word meaning â€œto write.â€ Others say itâ€™s from a Javanese word, â€œtik,â€ meaning â€œto dot.â€ The art is, in fact, very common on the island of Java. When batik was first developed in Java, it was for the exclusive benefit of royalty and nobility. Royal women practiced batik as a hobby. Particular designs were the property of aristocratic families. The familyâ€™s status could be ascertained through these proprietary designs.
Today, tradition holds that certain designs have their own meanings and that they confer good luck and prosperity to those who wear them.
Batik artists today work with various fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool, and leather. Batik is also done on paper. The ancient craft is practiced in China and Europe as well as in the traditional strongholds of Malaysia, Java, and India. Â Here at Turtle Island Imports, we are proud to carry stunning sarongs and other items of beauty and originality from the Indonesian island of Bali.