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There are many different patterns used in batiks. Here are some of them, mostly the traditional motifs of Central Java. The north coast centres, with the influence of the Chinese traders and entrepreneurs who set up batik factories in places like Pekalongan, produced batiks with more colourful and floral designs. The Dutch producers also made similar batiks, the symbols of which don't really require explanation.
The Kawung pattern is one of the patterns reserved for the royal family of Yogyakarta until recently.It was used by the king and his immediate family. The pattern symbolizes courage and justice. Four-circle with a center point represents the king accompanied by his aides. Alternatively, it depicts cross-section of aren-palm fruits and shows the seeds and center of the fruit. It also looks like a four petals blossoms simplified of lotus which means of purity. In other reference, the pattern can be evolved from fish scales. The pattern is very simple based on the repeating of squares, oval, rectangular, and star. While there are many variations, the basic structure is a group of four circles or ovals nearly touching each other, laid out on the cloth in geometric symmetry.
Another patterns reserved for the royal family of Yogyakarta until recently. Sometimes referred to as the keris or sword pattern or broken knife by outsiders, the Javanese call the Parang motif lidah api, or tongue of fire. Parang are one of the most powerful of batik motifs with their strong parallel diagonal lines. There are hundreds of variations, from small 2cm in Parang Klithik to the largest at 8cm or more in Parang Barong. Parang design is usually alternated with narrower bands in a darker contrasting color in which another motif called ‘Mlinjon’ is located
Another of the Parang designs worn by the royal family on state occasions, Parang Rusak symbolizes the human being's internal fight against wickedness by controlling their desires so their wise, noble character would win out. This pattern is about 15 cm for each parang and was reserved for the King. Every single line in this written batik must be drawn in one breath, this needs high concentration so the line will not be separated.
Sawat shows “big wings” of garuda bird. Garuda, according to legend is as bird-like creature has body and leg as a man but has beak and talon as an eagle. Garuda carried Vishnu (Hindi God) to the heaven.
Some consider this to be the Surakarta version of Parang. Many patterns are simply rows of narrow diagonal lines filled with a whole array of small patterns. The Udang Liris, again, one of the old patterns reserved for the royal court, is one of the more famous of these motifs. Udang Liris or light rain symbolizes fertility, the hope for prosperity, determination, to have courage to carry out what's important for the nation and her people.
The Ceplok family includes a wide range of geometric designs, often based on circular rosettes, stars or other small shapes, forming an overall symmetric pattern on the cloth. Ceplok originated from ‘Seceplok’ that means ‘A Bud’. This motif is a modification from Kawung Motif. Although fundamentally geometric, ceplok can also represent abstractions and stylization of flowers, buds, seeds, and even animals. It’s an ancient motif that can be found at the Hindu Temple. Variations in colour intensity can create illusions of depth and the overall effect is not unlike medallion patterns seen on turkish tribal rugs.
This motif is believed to be influenced by Indian cloth named ‘Patola’, that brought to Indonesia by Indian traders from Gujarat. This motive was developed from coast cities in the north of Java, like Cirebon and Pekalongan before it arrived in Keraton. The pattern consist of square and rectangle form and dots as ornaments. The geometric design is created with small dots and dashes imitating the original woven fabric. There’s a differences in the color used in every place, in Pekalongan the dominant colors are red, green, blue and yellow as the consumer of this cloth are from India and China. Jogja’s Nitik are using indigo, brown and white color.
Literal meaning of Sekar Jagad is 'flowers of the universe'. This design is worn as part of the Javanese marriage ceremony as it is said to refer to the joy felt by both at having found their partner.
Ayam Puger means caged rooster. This design commemorates the heroism of Prince Puger who due to a civil war, was forced to retreat to Banyumas.
Tambal is the equivalent of the western patchwork. Patchwork clothes were sometimes worn bu Buddhist priests as part of the vow of poverty. It is thought that the Tambal design was developed as a result.
Alas-alasan means forest and this design usually features a multitude of flora and fauna on a flat background. The species are not always native - animals from other parts of the world sometimes make an appearance - such as Kangaroos, Tapis, Lions, Tigers - probably drawn from illustrations in books.