Google's Doodle on 2 October celebrated and was made using Batik, a technique for decorating fabric using wax and pigment to create complex, colourful patterns. Batik artisans cover fabric with a wax design, add dye, and finally remove the wax to reveal the pattern underneath. Repeating the process with different coloured dyes can create intricate, multi-layered designs to adorn textiles and clothing.
Indonesia has been known for its Batik since the 4th or 5th century, and it has been said that Indonesian batik dye techniques and designs are as numerous as its islands. The designs and colours vary in accordance with the villages and ethnic groups that have spread out in different islands.
In Java, batik fabric historically lent itself naturally to fashion, art, and culture, because cotton and beeswax were readily available. Specific patterns and colours came to be associated with well-known families, or to bring health or good fortune. Members of the Javanese royal court created exquisite batik prints using finely woven textiles imported from Europe and India. Indonesian craftspeople proved to be ingenious with batik methods, innovating techniques such as woodblock printing.
Batik has been both an art and craft for centuries and is part of an ancient tradition. The word batik is derived from the Javanese word 'amba', means 'to write', the suffix 'titik' means little dot or to make dots. In a manuscript on a lontar leaf originating from around 1520 AD which was found in Galuh, Southern Cirebon (West Java), it is written that batik also means 'seratan,' which in Javanese means 'writing.'
Eventually, batik came to be known as the fabric of Indonesia. For those in Indonesia today, this would be a good time to wear your best batik clothing in honor of this traditional art form and the skilled artisans who create it.
Happy National Batik Day, Indonesia!