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I’m an Indonesian, and I do love Batik! August 17, 2010

Posted by chika-chika kelap-kelip in Entertainment.
Tags: , , ,

Today is the 65th anniversary of independence day of my country, Indonesia. I don’t know, but I want to review about one of Indonesia’s treasures, batik.
Batik is one of the cultural heritage of Indonesia. Batik has become an identity for our nation, and most parts of the world already know it. So, I wrote this post with English that can be read by people around the world. But I’m sorry if my English is not good. Hehe 😀 I hope you all understand what I mean.

Last year, Batik had been claimed by our neighbor who also claimed our other cultures, Angklung and Pendet dance (I’m sure you know exactly what country it is, the initial is “M”). Though, batik was directly inherited by our ancestors, which became a tradition from age to age.

Since UNESCO declared batik is the world heritage from Indonesia on October 2, 2009, we feel relieved that our culture has “patented” to be a world cultural heritage, and the entire world admitted it. Then, batik became more frequently used in our country, not only on special occasions, but also on ordinary days, especially on Friday, by domesticians even foreigners.

I love to wear batik, because I’m proud to be an Indonesian, moreover a Javanese descent (Batik is originated from Java). But for me, batik still has a sacred meaning, so I wouldn’t wear it everyday. I felt less confident if I only wear batik with certain motifs without knowing their meanings. So, I want to learn as well as sharing about batik motifs.

By definition, the word “batik” is derived from two words of Javanese language, “amba” (to write) and “tik” (dot), which means writing the fabric with the dots to create motives which consists of dots and lines. It is small, soft, and smooth work-related that contain elements of aesthetics.

Batik is not just painting inscribed on a fabric using canting (a tool containing wax for making batik). Many tracks can be extracted from a piece of batik, because motifs inscribed on a piece of batik always has a hidden meaning. Some batik motifs, for example, are purposed to indicate the status of its user deliberately. Even today, some classic traditional batik motifs should only be used by the family of kingdom (Keraton Yogyakarta and Surakarta).

Javanese Philosophy

Each motif in a classic traditional batik has always had its own philosophy. Especially in Central Java, particularly in Solo (Surakarta) and Yogyakarta, each motif of batik has a meaning. This relates to the meaning or philosophical significance in Hindu-Javanese culture. There are certain motifs that are considered as something sacred and can only be used on special occasion or event.
Birth events, for example, the baby’s should be underlined by grandmother’s old batik cloth or kopohan which means wet. It hopes that the baby would have a long life as the grandmother’s.
For the wedding, the bride wear batik with the motif begin with Sida, such as Sida Mulya, Sida Luhur, Sida Asih, and Sida Mukti.

Sida Mukti Motif

Sida Mukti motif is usually worn by the bride and groom at a wedding, also called sawitan (pair). There is also a motif that is not sawitan kembar, but usually used by the couple, motifs of Ratu Ratih paired with Semen Rama, which symbolizes the loyalty of a wife to her husband. But if there is no Sida motif, the bride can also wear Truntum motif, Wahyu Tumurun, Semen Gurdha, Semen Rama, and Semen Jlekithet. Each contains the intention that the bride and groom get happiness, prosperity, and become a respectable person. But the bride and groom are restricted to wear Parang Rusak motif, because the household will be destroyed.

While the marriage ceremony, the bride’s parents would wear the Truntum motif, which has meaning to guide the bride and groom entered the new intricacies of married life. This motif also known as Sida Wirasat, that means advice. There is always some combination of truntum in this motif. Wirasat motif represents the development of Sida Mulya motif, which the contents consist of various batik motifs, including Cakar, Truntum, Sida Luhur, and Sida Mulya motifs. This motif has meanings that all the petition is granted, to reach high position, fullfilled all the needs, also requests guidance from God for given a bright way from darkness.

Sida Wirasat Motif

Motifs of Batik

In general, motif of batik consists of two types, geometric and nongeometric motifs. Geometric designs are shaped with stripes motif, for example batik kawung, parang, and panji. The geometric symbolize the bureaucracy in government, from the king to the people, or “manunggaling kawula gusti.” While nongeometris not designed with the stripes.

Motifs of batik originated from Keraton (Javanese Kingdom) can be classified into ten groups, Lereng, Semen, Parang, Truntum, Kawung, Gringsing, Ceplok, Nitik, Pinggiran, and Terang Bulan. (http://anhe51.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/batik-motifs)

Lereng Motif

Lereng Motifs

‘Lereng’ (literally means ‘Cliff’) history began at the escape of royal family from Surakarta, they had to hide in the mountains area for their safety, and the Sultan look at the cliff, which became the inspiration to make Lereng motif.
Fundamentally, the design of Lereng is the same with Parang, some says that Yogyanese called it parang and Surakartanese called it Lereng. It’s one of Motif Larangan (Prohibited Motifs) that only royal families could wear. But nowadays, some of Lereng/Parang motif, could be wear by people outside the Keraton, except for some sacred motifs.

Semen Motif

Semen Motif

‘Semen’ word originated from ‘Semi’ that literally means bloom, the motif. It is a pictorial batik of animals, plants, and other living creatures, which symbolize something that grows which reflects prosperity and and fertility. The history is originated from Hindu mythology, that tells the story of Sri Rama giving the advice to his son, Gunawan Wibisana, when Wibisana was about to be crowned as the king. The advice is known as Hasta Brata (Eight Bratas) that a leader should have.
1. Indrabrata
Means a dedication to give the prosperity and protect the earth, symbolized by plants.
2. Yamabrata
Means fair and honest to the others, symbolized by mountains or cloud that reflects a high position
3. Suyabrata
Means courage not half hearted, symbolized by Garuda
4. Sasibrata
Means give the light and cheer to whom that feel sad, symbolized by animals
5. Bayubrata
Means the high position that doesn’t expose its authority, symbolized by bird
6. Danababrata/Kuwerabrata
Means give respect or appreciation to the people, symbolized by relic
7. Barunabrata/Pasabrata
Means a forgiving, symbolized by dragon or something related with water
8. Agnibrata
Means a power to fight against evil and protect the weak, symbolized by fire or flame
These symbols are base for the pattern of Semen motif. Who wear batik with this motif hope that they can always communicated with God and all the necessities of life will be fulfilled.

Parang Motif

Parang Motif

‘Parang’ literally means sword or knife, this motif reflects alertness, guard and sharp. By wearing Parang motif, the person could be alert, have a sharp think, and gifted with glory. The bigger Parang means bigger authority, this motif is one of Motif Larangan (Prohibited Motifs) that only royal families could wear. The King, as the highest authority in the kingdom wears the biggest parang motif. Parang design is usually alternated with narrower bands in a darker contrasting color in which another motif called ‘Mlinjon’ is located which differentiated Parang from Kawung Motif.

Truntum Motif

Truntum Motif

There’s some versions that the word ‘truntum’ originated from. First, it derives from ‘tumaruntum’, which means guiding or often is connected to ‘tentrem’, literally means peaceful. Second, it derives from word ‘tuntun’ literlally meaning guidance. Truntum motif is worn by the parents in their children’s wedding, it’s a symbol that parents can guide or give model to their children to accomplish their own peace in time of entering family life.
It was believed that this motif was created by Ratu Beruk, the consort of Sunan Pakubuwono II (King of Surakarta, 1749 – 1788). She was upset because her husband ignored her. For a long time, her husband did not visit the queen. To spent the time and eliminated the sadness, she started making batik. Unconsciously, the queen made the stars-shaped motif in a dark sky, which has been accompanied her in solitude.
Every second she spent her time attaching chanting to batik wax. One day Sunan was home from hunting, coming to her dwelling. He found the queen diligently making batik, drawing animals. Seeing the king arrived, Ratu Beruk’s love sprouted again. The king then was very patient accompanying her making batik.

Gringsing Motif

Gringsing Motif

‘Gringsing’ word originated from words ‘Gering’ that means sick and ‘Sing’ that means not. So Gringsing means not sick or against illness. This motif believed to be able to cure the illness. This is one of ancient motif inspired by Patola clothes that originated from India. The motif resembling the snake skin and generally used in backgrounds.

Kawung Motif

Kawung Motif

Some said that Kawung is a kind of palm tree having ellipse-shaped fruit, with color of white called “Kolang-Kaling”. Others say that kawung comes from a name of insect ‘Kwangwung’. It believed that this motif created by Sultan Agung of Mataram.
The ornaments consist of four symmetric circles surrounding a little circle in the middle that symbolizes ‘Kiblat Papat-Kelimo Pancer‘ (four sources of energy that surrounding the centre of power, God that rules every direction). East is a direction of sunrise, the symbol of life source. North is a direction of mountain, symbol of gods’ dwelling, place of spirit/death. West is a direction of sunset, the coming of luck. South is a direction of zenith, peak of everything.
This motif brings hope that the user is given strength to rule well and have a meaningful life, like the palm tree that useful for everyone from the root to leaf.

Ceplok Motif

Ceplok Motif

‘Ceplok’ originated from ‘Seceplok’ that means ‘A Bud’. This motif is a modification from Kawung Motif, with ‘Kiblat Papat-Kelimo Pancer’. Although fundamentally geometric, ceplok can also represent abstractions and stylization of flowers, buds, seeds, and even animals. It’s an ancient motif that can be found at the Hindu Temple. Variations in color intensity can create illusions of depth and the overall effect is not unlike medallion patterns seen on turkish tribal rugs. But in Moslem’s rule forbids the portrayal of animal and human forms in a realistic manner. To get around this prohibition, the batik worker does not attempt to express this matter in a realistic form. A single element of the form is chosen and then that element is repeated again and again in the pattern.

Nitik Motif

Nitik Motif

This motif is believed to be influenced by Indian cloth named ‘Patola’, that brought to Indonesia by Indian trader. This motive was developed from coast cities in the north of Java, like Cirebon and Pekalongan before it arrived in Keraton. The pattern consist of square and rectangle form and dots as ornaments. There’s a differences in the color used in every place, in Pekalongan the dominant colors are red, green, blue and yellow as the consumer of this cloth are from India and China. Jogja’s Nitik are using indigo, brown and white color.

Pinggiran Motif

Pinggiran Motif

‘Pinggiran’ literally means ‘Edge’. This is actually a motif located at the edge of the batik cloth.

Terang Bulan Motif

Terang Bulan Motif

‘Terang Bulan’ literally means ‘Moonshine’, basically it’s a motif consist of triangle pattern ascending vertically in a simple backgrounds. The ornaments are only in the bottom part of batik.

Taken from many sources.

To be continued…. 🙂



1. rizkyjatnika - August 18, 2010

Chik ini teh batik Yogya-Solo aja y?
Klo to be continued, request dong..

– Batik Pekalongan, ini kn dh terkenal banget kemana2..
– Batik Cirebonan, sama corak yg terkenalnya Mega Mendung (yg curiga ditiru buat jadi jubah Akatsuki, ehehe)
– Batik Garutan, yg warna genjrang-genjreng bagus buat ke pesta tapi kurang terkenal
-Batik lain2 yg pastinya sy g tau (hampir tiap region kita punya coraknya sendiri yg unik sih)


2. Karlin - August 18, 2010

It is so Indonesian to apologize in advance for their so called “not so good” English…
despite that, u did a great job and your English is perfect! So need not to apologize dear…:)
Liking this…:D

3. chika-chika kelap-kelip - August 18, 2010

Dear Karlin:
Thank youu.. It’s just a formality though. hehe
Oh, I forgot to link the source about those ten motifs, which the author wrote it in English. So I just ‘rewrite’ his article to my post (only for the ten motifs). hehe..
Feel free to give me some advices, especially for the grammar, ok! 🙂

4. chika-chika kelap-kelip - August 18, 2010

Dear Kijat:
Iya, ini baru yg Yogya-Solo aja..
draft yg lain dah jadi sih,, termasuk pekalongan dan cirebon, tinggal diposting.
tapi yg garut?? wah,, coba tak cari sumbernya dulu ya.. 😀
tenkyu rikuesnya 🙂

5. Rizky - August 19, 2010

Tasik juga ada loh..
Cuman emang g populer,
klo Pekalongan sm Cirebon kn populer bgt..
Batik2 model garutan sm tasik setau sy setipe..
Sm2 gonjreng, cm beda motif..

Happy searching..

6. Baju Batik Online - October 10, 2010

Info yang sangat bermanfaat
Salam kenal dan Sukses selalu…

Baju Batik Distro

chika-chika kelap-kelip - October 11, 2010

salam kenal juga ya.. 🙂

7. galuh - October 22, 2010

Hi chika nice review..! actually last week i had an assignment to write about batik..too bad didn’t find this earlier :'((
but im sure it will still be very useful then.

Thanks for the info 🙂


chika-chika kelap-kelip - October 22, 2010

hi galuh! thanks for visiting my blog! please come again 🙂

8. ainU aLfiN Ni'mAh - November 9, 2010

-,- baTik InDonEsiA bgUz” Y,.-

9. BIGBANG in BATIK « *Chika-chika Kelap-kelip* - October 18, 2012

[…] We must very proud of Indonesia. I’m an Indonesian, and I do love Batik! […]

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