Batik sarong from Indonesia patterned with birds and insects

Indonesia

Date: c.1930

Origin: Indonesia

Dimensions: H 100 x W 244cm

Venue: Gawthorpe Textiles Collection

This intricately patterned sarong from Indonesia is a beautiful example of the batik method. The complex design features birds, spiders, beetles and other insects worked in shades of deep blue and brown. Each colour would require a new layer of wax to be laid over the relevant sections of fabric, dyed, then washed free of the warm wax. This would have been repeated many times to create a design this complex. c. 1972 

Batik is an intricate process that uses wax to ‘resist’ or block the dye in certain areas to create the pattern. The wax is usually applied using a small pen like tool that holds a small reservoir of wax that can be melted over a heat source to allow it to flow from the tip of the tool.  A new application of wax has to be carried out for each colour and stage of the design. Precise lines are needed to create complex patterns and for the highest quality batik, the design would be drawn onto both sides of the cloth in perfect alignment. The characteristic ‘cracking’ of batik fabrics comes from the wax layer cracking slightly as the cloth is immersed in the dye bath. 

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