Javanese Batik Sarong
Presentation by Elizaveta Buzytsky in 2021. More on the Studio EPB Batik practice can be found here.
This is an example of a Javanese sarong or sarung, defined as a tubular skirt wrapped at the hips and ending at the ankles. The word sarung is derived from the Malay spelling and is loosely used to define any kind of sheath or cover. The figures depicted are wayang kulit figures, or traditional Indonesian shadow puppets.
Batik is a resist technique using the application of hot wax onto fabric to create a ground. Dye is then applied in layers so that once the wax is removed, the image comes through in white negative space. Tjaunting, also spelled canting is the tool used for Javanese wax application. Traditionally, most artisans who work with canting are women, so likely this piece was made by a woman.
The brown tone is soga from soaking the bark of the soga tree. The blue color of indigo is derived from the plant indigo tinctorial. The white is the color of the fabric protected by wax during the dye process.
Wayang theater features a cast of different characters with each puppet representing important figures in epic tales. The Wayang is a traditional source of moral guidance as well as entertainment. The figure bares some similarity to the female figure of Surtikanti, a royal character in the epic tale of The Ramayana, as indicated by her costume, coloring and head dress.
The selected sarung has variations of the ukel and cantel motifs as seen in this isen sampler. This sarung does not show any sacred or forbidden motifs, rather it shows isen; exclusively decorative motifs. Parang is a geometric sacred motif that can be found in a lot of Javanese batik and are a part of the Javanese philosophy. Sacred motifs were forbidden to be worn by anybody except court officials and priests until the mid twentieth century.
LIST OF FULL WORKS CITED
The batik art of Java. (1933). Wiley Digital Archives.
C., V. N., & Prawirohardjo, S. (1985). Javanese wayang kulit: An introduction. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
Editor@pulpinternational.com. (n.d.). Pulp International – 1937 promo photo of Dorothy Lamour. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from this source.
Fashion, K. (2020, July 27). Introducing: The Louis Vuitton crafty collection. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from this source.
Fraser-Lu, S. (1991). Indonesian batik: Processes, patterns and places. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Iwan Tirta. (n.d.). Retrieved from this source.
The Jungle Princess. (1936, November 27). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from this source.
Keller, I. (1981). Batik: The art and craft. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle.
Lee, P. (2014). Sarong kebaya: Peranakan fashion in an interconnected world, 1500-1950. In 1337137237 980425981 P. Lee (Author), Sarong kebaya: Peranakan fashion in an interconnected world, 1500-1950 (pp. 28-29). Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum.
Lee, T. (2016). Defining the Aesthetics of the Nyonyas’ Batik Sarongs in the Straits Settlements, Late Nineteenth to Early Twentieth Century. Asian Studies Review, 40(2), 173-191. doi:10.1080/10357823.2016.1162137
Long, R. (2005). Javanese shadow theatre: Movement and characterization in Ngayogyakarta Wayang Kulit. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press.
Mrázek, J. (2005). Phenomenology of a puppet theatre: Contemplations on the art of Javanese wayang kulit. Leiden: KITLV.
Parang Rusak [Web log post]. (n.d.). Retrieved from this source.
Shadow Puppet (Wayang Kulit) of Surtikanti. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from this source.
Terms – The Anatomy of a Batik Sarong. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from this source.
Terms – The Anatomy of a Batik Sarong. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from this source.
Van, H. I. (2001). Batik: Drawn in wax: 200 years of batik art from Indonesia in the Tropenmuseum collection. Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute.
Wayang puppet theatre. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from this source.
What is a sarong? (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from this source.
What is Batik? (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from this source.