Batik is a type of textile art that uses wax and dye to produce patterns on a piece of plain cloth. Though the word Batik may have been derived from the Malay word titik which means to dot, Batik can in fact be found across the world from Africa to Asia.
It was however, on the island of Java, Indonesia that Batik reached its pinnacle. These early designers incorporated deep meaning in their work, creating patterns closely related to the Javanese philosophies of life.
The parang motif appears in various forms, usually depicting a narrow length and almost sharp edge — just like a sword. In one famous folklore, the fabled prince of Java Prince Panja was saved by the protective power of the parang batik he had on him. In another story, the Sultan Agung of Mataram contemplated a stretch of jagged rocks on the south coast as a natural guard to the coastline. This has made the parang a symbol of security and safety.
3. Sekar Jagad
For centuries, the emotion of love has been central to man's existence. What are we without the emotion of love? Legend has it that the truntum was created by the Queen, who upon the King's infidelity began batik-ing stars she saw in the dark sky to forget her loneliness.
Curious by this new motif, the King approached his wife with care, silently observing her diligence. Her earnestness eventually caused his love for her to blossom again.. making the truntum a symbol of budding or reawakened love.
In practice this the truntum is regularly worn by the parents of brides and grooms at Javanese wedding ceremonies.
References and credits:
Djoemena, Nian S. Ungkapan Sehelai Batik. Indonesia: Penerbit Djambatan, 1986.
Kerlogue, Fiona. Batik: Design, Style & History. London: Thames & Hudson, 2014.
Batik Museum of Yogyakarta
Parang Batik by Karen Chen
Sekar Jagad and Tambal Batik by Mulberry San
Cover photo by Esther Jeohn
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