HIstory of Indonesian Batik

Indonesian batik history is closely related to the flourishing of Majapahit Kingdom  and Islam propaganda in Java island.  In few historic records, batik was flourishing during Mataram Kingdom, and later in period of Surakarta and Yogyakarta Kingdom.

So batik in Indonesia has been recognized in Majapahit period and later evolving  from generation to generation. The flourishing of batik has become part of Javanese culture and Indonesian in general after the end of 18th century and 19th century. Batik produced was batik tulis (painted batik) until early of 20th century. And batik cap (stamped batik) was known after the World War I or around 1920. And in relation with Islam spread, numerous batik center were moslem community and batik became means of economic struggle of Moslem traders to fight against Dutch.

Batik arts is art of painting on fabric for cloth, one of culture elements of past Indonesian kings family. In the outset, batik was made inside keraton/palace and the output was for kings, family and people living in palace. As there were numerous king men live outside palace, this culture was broght by them from kraton in their own place. Batik was then spread to their close people, family, relatives and then became women work on their spare time. Batik that was only worn by kraton members, turn to people cloth for women and men. Even the white fabric was weaved by themselves in that period. The colors were made of Indonesia indigenous plants such as mengkudu, tinggi, soga, nila and soda material made of soda ash and salt was made of mud.

In Majapahit period, batik had become a culture and this can be traced in Mojokerto and Tulungagung. As Mojokerto is closely related to Majapahit, batik history can be traced from the remains of Majapahit there. And in Tulungagung that has swamp area,in history it was known as Bonorowo, and when Majapahit evolved, that area was reigned by Adipati Kalang and he did not want to be part of Majapahit. Adipati Kalang was died in a battle with Majapahit in an area that is now called as Kalangbret. Soldier of Majapahit and their family later settled in Benorowo, now Tulungaggung and they brought batik art.

Batik in Mojokerto can be found in Kwali, Mojosari, Betero and Sidomulyo. Outside Mojokerto regency is Jombang where batik also evolved in that period. IN the end of 19th century, several batik products are known in Mojokerto. They use material of localy weaved white fabric, batik colors from soda jambal, mengkudu, nila, tinggi and etc.

Chemicals from abroad were recognized after World War I, sold by Chinese traders in Mojokerto. Stamped batik was also recognized after advent of Chinese traders. Stamps were made in Bangil and batik businessmen could buy it at Porong Market Sidoarjo, where batik products from Kedungcangkring and Jetis Sidoarjo sold before world crisis. In that crisis, batik Mojokerto was declining badly. After crisis batik activity was started again until Japanese came and it declined again. After revolution Batik activity was back.

Batik Kalangbret characteristics are similar to thaose of Yogyakarta, with white basic color and the motives are light brown and dark blue. The centers are in Majan and Simo and these villages were related to Diponegoro war in 1825.

Although batik was known since Majapahit, batik spread wide since period of Kasultanan Surakarta and Yogyakarta. The later growth of batik in Mojokerto was influenced by Solo and Yogyakarta batik.

In physical struggle of Diponegoro and Dutch, few of Kyai Mojo troops held back and settled in Majan. Since Dutch colonialism until Independence, Majan was a free area with kyai as the village leaders from generation to generation. Majan batik was a heritage from Diponegoro war.

THe color of batik Mojo and Simo are unique as the basic color is red from mengkudu and other color from tom. As batik center for many years, Sembung village has been known for its businessmen that came from Solo and settled in Tulungagung in 19th century. Other batik can be found in Trenggalek, Kediri as home industries.

Batik in Islam Period

Ponorogo is other batik center in East Java and it is related to Islam spread in this area. It said that in Batoro Katong region there was a descendant of Majapahit, Raden Katong, brother of Raden Patah. Batoro Katong brought Islam to Ponorogo and one of the historical site is a mosque in Patihan Wetan. Later in Ponorogo, there was a moslem boarding school led by Kyai Hasan Basri or known as Kyai Agung Tegalsari. This school beside taught Islam also taught constitution, war science and literature. A very popular student in this school is Raden Ronggowarsito. Kyai Hasan Basri became son in law of Keraton Surakarta. And the wife of Kyai Hasan Basri was the one who brought batik to Tegalsari, beside there were many Keraton Solo members studied in this school. Batik centers that can still be seen today are Ronowijoyo, Mangunsuman, Kertosari, Setono, Cokromenggalan, Kadipaten, Nologaten, Bangunsari, Cekok, Banyudono and Ngunut village. In that period, they used chemicals from woods, such as tom tree, mengkudu, and tinggi. They made the white fabric and import fabric was known in Indonesia in the end of 19th century.

Stamped batik was known in Ponorogo since after the World War I and brought by Chinese trader, Kwee Seng from  Banyumas. Ponorogo Batik was popular with its good quality violet color  in the early 2oth century. That was why batik businessman from Pekalongan and Solo gave job to Ponorogo batik businessmen. As the impact of stamped batik, Ponorogo production after WW I was known as blue stamped batik and sold to Ponorogo and Indonesia.

Solo and Yogyakarta Batik

From kingdoms in Solo and Yogyakarta, in 17, 18, and 19 century, batik was known widely and flourished to entire of Java. IN the beginning batik was just a hobby of royal family but later it became trading commodity.
Solo Batik is famous for its motines and traditional patterns in its stamped or painted batik.  The material used were from soga Jawa that was known for years. The popular  patterns are Sidomukti and Sidoluruh.

In Yogyakarta, batik process was known since Mataram I led by Panembahan Senopati. The center of batik was at Plered. And batik was done only by maids of queens. Later batik was known by other family of keraton, wifes, and maids and soldiers. And in that phase posssible visit from house to house make batik spread over so quickly outside keraton wall.

As the impact of the war there were royal family fleed and settled in other parts in Java such as Banyumas, Pekalongan, Ponorogo, Tulungagung and other places since 18th century. These family then practiced batik in those new places.

War of Diponegore against Dutch forced pangeran Diponegoro and his family and fellows to leave palace. They spread eastward and westward.  In those new places, families practicing batik. Eastward, batik Solo and Yogyakarta perfected the batik motives in Mojokerto and Tulungagung. And it spread to GResik, Surabaya and Madura. And westward, batik flourished to Banyumas, Pekalongan, Tegal and Cirebon.

Batik in other cities.

The flourishing batik in Banyumas was was centered in Sokaraja, brought by Pangeran Diponegoro and his fellows after the end of Diponegoro war in 1830, most of them settled in Banyuman. The famous fellows was Najendra, that developed plunging batik in Sokaraja. They used locally weaved white fabric and used chemical from tom tree, mengkudu and pace that yielded yellowy red color.
Later batik spread to Sokaraja and in the end of 19th century, they have direct relation to batik cratfers from Solo and Ponorogo. Banyumas batik was known with special motives and colors, now called as Banyumas batik. After WW I Chinese also made batik beside they did trading.

Similar to batik in Pekalongan. Fellows of pangeran DIponegoro settled there and established batik business, and it fouurished in other coastal areas such as Buwaran, Pekajangan and Wonopringgo. Batik was expanding after the end of Diponegoro war and there were many palace families moved to outside Yogyakarta and Solo as they did not want to co-op with Dutch.

Motives of batik  in those new places were adapted to the environment. Pekalongan batik was influenced by Demak batik in its process and design. Until early of 20th century batik process known only painted batik with local material and partly imported. After the W W I, stamped batik was recognized and chemical from abroad that were used came from Germany and England.

In the early 2oth century, in Pekajangan was recognized simple traditional weaving of setagen (long narrow fabric). Few years later batik was practice by people working at the  weaving sector. The growth and development of this sector was very significant and labors in Wonopringgo and Tirto sugar factory went to batik industries for better wages.

In Tegal, batik was known since the end of 19th century using plants and self made white fabric. The color of Tegal batik used sogan and grey color after known factory violet color, and later became red and blue color. Batik Tegal was marketed to West Java on foot. These people were estimated spread batik to Tasik and Ciamis beside other comers from Central Java.

IN the early 20th century, white fabric was imported and imported chemicals were known after World War I. Batik businessmen in Tegal were weak in capital and material was purchaned from Pekalongan and they bought with credit methode and sold batik to Chinese who gave the credit.  In economy crisis, batik makers in Tegal was depressed and later active again in 1934 until beginning of WW II. In Japan occupation, it was depressed again.

In Purworejo, Batik arrived at the same time as in Kebumen, from Yogyakarta around 11th century. Batik in Purworejo grew slower than in Kebumen. Its prodection similar to that of Yogyakarta and other parts of Banyumas.

Bayat region is located 21 km east of Klaten, this area is dry and has shortage of resources. This was part of Surakarta residency and Kabupaten Klaten and batik here must have close relation to history of Kasunanan Surakarta . IN Bayat village located Sunan Bayat grave that becomes a pilgrimage site. Bayat batik businessmen were once worked in batik industries in Solo.

Batik in Kebumen was known since 19th century brought by comers froom Yogyakarta in propagating Islam. One of figure known was Penghulu Nusjaf. He  developed batik in Kebumenand settled at the east of Kali Sukolilo and there was mosque built by him. The first Kebumen batik was teng-abang or blambangan and later the final process was finished in Banyumas/Solo. Around 20th century the patters were made by using turmeric and wooden stamp. Kebumen typical motives are trees, birds. And they used colors made of tom tree, pace and kemudu.

Imported chemicals were known since 1920 and introduced by Bank Rakyat Indonesia staff. Handmade colors materials were left, to save time. Stamped from copper was recognized since 1930 by Purnomo from Yogyakarta. And Kebumen batik centers are at Watugarut, Tanurekso and few other villages.

From stories handed down from generation to generation, Batik in Tasikmalaya is estimated to arrive in the period of Tarimanegara and there were many tarum trees used as batik material. In Tasikmalaya, the batik center is at Wurug, Sukapura, Mangunraja, Maronjaya and city of Tasikmalaya.

Sukapura was the capital  located on the suburban of current city of Tasikmalaya. In the end of 17th century and early 18th century, there were numerous families moved westward from Central Java ( Tegal, Pekalongan, Banyuman and Kudus) as the impact of wars in Central Java.

Most of batik businessmen moved westward and traded batik. The new comers introduced local people to batik from Central Java. Tasikmalaya batik is a mix of batik from Pekalongan, Tegal, banyumas, and Kudus that are colorful and rich of patterns.

Batik in Ciamis was recognized since 19th century when Diponegoro war was over and pangeran Diponegoro felloww and troops left Yogyakarta southward.  And partly settled in Bayuman or moved further southward and settled in Ciamis and Tasikmalaya. They migrated with their families and continued their way of living. Few of them expert in Batik and few started batik industries. This works evolved to local people, they used colors from mengkudu, tom tree and etc.

Ciamis batik motive is mix of Central Java batik and influenced with Garutan motive. Until early of 20th century Batik in Ciamis flourished from self consumption to selling it to market.  While in Cirebon, batik was closely related to palaces in this region, Kanoman, Kasepuhan and Keprabonan palace. In Cirebon, the case of batik evolved from palace area just like batik in Yogyakarta and Surakarta. KIngs in the past loved paintings and before cotton yarn recognized, the paintings were made on lontar leafs. This period was around 8th century. This has relation to batik motives on weaved materials. Batik Cirebon characteristic is motive of forest and wildlife symbols pictures. While sea motive was influenced by Chinese when Cirebon Palace ever married to Chinese princes. Batik Cirebon with garuda motive was influenced by Yogya and Solo motives.

Batik in Jakarta was recognized in the end of 19th century as other regions. Batik was carried by Central Javanese that settled there. Batik centers in Jakarta were close to Tanah Abang: Karet, Bendungan Ilir and Udik, Kebayoran Lama, Mampang Prapatan and Tebet. Jakarta had became trade center among areas in Indonesia with its Pasar Ikan harbor. After WW I, batik cap/stammped batik was recognized and batik production increased and batik traders looked for new market target. Popular market for textile and batik in Jakarta were Tanah Abang, Jatinegara, and Jakarta Kota, and the biggest was Pasar Tanah Abang since back then. Solo, Yogya, Bayumas, Ponorogo, Tulungagung, Pekalongan, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis and Cirebon batik could be found in Tanah Abang market and later delivered to outside Java. Batik traders mostly were Arabian, Chinese and only few Indonesian.

As the center of batik trade was in Tanah Abang, and raw material can be found in Jakarta, batik traders opened batik company in Jakarta, nearby Tanah Abang. Batik businessmen were mostly Chinese and the labours were from Pekalongan, Yogya, Solo and other parts including local people. Later local people started same businesses. MOtive and batik proses of Jakarta were just like Pekalongan, Yogya, Solo and Banyumas batik, as the origin of the labors.

Batik raw materials used were locally weaved fabric and the chamicals were self made from mengkudu, pace, turmeric and etc. Before war, Jakarta batik was rough and same color as batik of Banyumas.

Batik Beyond Java.

From Jakarta, batik traders sold the products to outside Java Island and later evolved in every corner of Indonesia such as Sumatera Barat especially Padang and other areas. Sumatera Barat was included as batik consumers prior to WW I especially Pekalongan batik and Solo and Yogya batik. Before the advent of Batik, tenun Silungkang and tenin plekat had been flourished in Sumatera Barat. Batik evolved in Padang after Japanese occupation when since the transportation route Java-Sumatera was ceased, and batik stock was finished while they needed batik for their daily clothing. After Indonesia Independence, both Island transportation were more difficult for Dutch blockades, therefore, batik traders in Sumatera barat started to produced batik themselves.  They imitate Javanese batik with same patterns and used wooden stamp.Batik chemicals used were homemade from Mengkudu, turmeric, gambir, damar and etc. The white fabric was hand mad. The first batik manufacture was in Sampan, Padang pariaman regency in 1946 such as Bagindo Idris, Sidi Ali, Sidi Zakaria, Sutan Salim, Sutan Sjamsudin and in Payakumbuh in 1948 was built batik industry by Waslim (from Pekalongan) and Sutan Razab. After Padang became occupation area in 1949, there were numerous batik traders opened batik industries with raw materials from Singapore via padang and Pakanbaru. But batik business declined after Java-Sumatera route opened. padang batik colors are mostly dark, yellow and reddy purple with patterns of Banyumas, Indramayu, Solo and Yogya. Now Padang batik products were more advanced but not as good as Javanese Batik. The stamp tools are now made of copper and most of the output is sarong.