What Are the Different Types of Batik?
Batik is a traditional method of fabric dying. By applying wax, waiting for it to harden, and then submerging the fabric in dye, the batik method produces beautiful and unique designs and patterns.
So what is batik fabric?
While batik is known for its tightly woven cotton fabric, batik artisans also use materials like silk, hemp, and cambric.
3 Types of Traditional Batik Art
Batik art can be found in multiple countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore, China, and the Philippines. Each country has a different approach to creating these beautiful pieces of art.
Because batik is an expression of culture, it makes sense to explore this form of art based on the countries they represent.
The technique of wax-resist dyeing originated from the island Java, Indonesia. There are two forms of traditional batik that are recognized in Indonesia:
- Stamp batik - a pattern is created by printing a design using a stamp called a cap.
- Written batik - a pattern is designed by drawing dots and lines with a spouted tool called a canting.
The technique is applied to the whole piece of fabric. Traditionally, dyes come from natural plant sources.
A decorative Indonesian batik pattern
The most popular pattern motifs are leaves and flowers, and because Islam norms forbids images of animals as decor, it is rare to see human or animals depicted in Malaysian batik.
The two main types of Malaysian batik include:
- Hand-painted batik - this is the most prevalent technique used to create Malaysian batik and uses a brush medium.
- Block-printed batik - this is one of the oldest techniques used to create Malaysian batik. It uses wooden blocks carved with patterns as moulds to print.
The tool used to create the batik naturally determines the motif and aesthetic of the piece.
A colorful Malaysian batik
Chinese Batik (Hmong Batik)
Creating a pattern using this batik method requires a significant degree of time and skill. At WOTOWOW, we are intimately familiar with Hmong batik, and the process of creating these intricate designs is no small feat.
- STEP 1 - Wash the cloth
- STEP 2 - Apply the hot wax
- STEP 3 - Draw the design
- STEP 4 - Create the dye
- STEP 5 - Dye the fabric
- STEP 6 - Remove the wax
- STEP 7 - Clean the cloth
The Hmong people are located in the isolated, mountainous region of China and have preserved this ancient skill. If one of these steps is completed incorrectly, the outline of the image will lack the precision and clarity that is characteristic of batik artisanry.
A traditional blue and white Hmong batik
Additionally, because the Hmong people do not have a written language, batik designs are a natural visual for storytelling. Batik isn’t just art. From depicting the origin of life to the mysteries of nature, these patterns literally embody the Hmong culture and beliefs.
Looking for a Handcrafted Batik?
If you are looking for a beautifully crafted piece of batik art and tradition, WOTOWOW was specifically created to connect Hmong artisans with buyers worldwide.
Our shop offers a wide selection of handcrafted batik pillow covers, table runners, and tapestries.
By supporting artisans in the Hmong village, our hope is to keep the batik tradition alive for generations to come.