196.0 x 97.5cm (irreg.)
Batik is a resist-dye method of decorating cloth. Parts of the design are drawn either by hand or with a stamp on the cloth with wax. The textile is then dipped in a vat of dye, and the areas covered with wax do not pick up the colour. After drying the wax is removed, and different parts of the design are waxed and the cloth is dyed with another colour. This process is repeated until the textile has been dyed with all the colours necessary for the design. Both of these batik cloths are 'kain panjangs', a cloth that wraps around and covers the body from waist to ankle, from the north coast of Java. These batiks use bright colours and experimental designs. Many north coast batiks include imagery reflecting the multi-cultural communities in the region. Chinese decorative ideas appear in bird and flower motifs, border patterns, animals, and mountains, as well as pink, yellow, and blue hues. Islamic ideas added geometric patterns based on Indian trade textile designs. Muslims favour the colour green, which is considered to be sacred. European floral bouquets with birds, butterflies, and bees, and images of fairy tales, the colonial lifestyle, soldiers and military equipment also were popular.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012