Pekalongan Batik: History – Characteristics – Motifs

Have you ever heard about Pekalongan city? Yes, this city is popular with its wonderful batik.

This city which is part of Central Java region has thousands kinds of beautiful batik patterns and motifs.

No wonder, because all the batik artists there are full of skills and passions. That’s why Pekalongan batik becomes so popular with its elegance.

There are so many types of batik, but the simplicity of its pattern makes it very good.

Without further ado, let’s get into the topic. Here you are, interesting facts about Pekalongan batik.

A Brief History of Pekalongan Batik

Actually, there is no official record about history of batik Indonesia, especially Pekalongan, but according to some art experts, batik has already existed in Pekalongan in 1800.

Meanwhile, based on data that is recorded at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, there were 1802 batik motifs, such as small tree motifs in the form of clothes.

However, significant developments in Pekalongan batik are estimated to occur after the great war of 1825-1830, the Diponegoro War, the great war in the kingdom of Mataram (Javanese War).

With the occurrence of this war urged the royal family and many people to leave the kingdom.

They then spread to the east and west. Then, in this new area, the families and their people developed batik.

In the east, Solo and Yogyakarta, some pioneers perfected the patterns of batik who had been existed in Mojokerto and Tulungagung.

After several times, that pattern of batik spread out to Gresik, Surabaya, and Madura.

Besides, in the West batik was developed in Banyumas, Kebumen, Tegal, Cirebon, and Pekalogan.

With this kind of migration, no wonder previous Pekalongan batik had evolved more.

Pekalongan batik with its Javanese batik fabric becomes so popular, too.

As time goes by, Pekalongan batik encounters faster development than other regions.

In Pekalongan, batik develops in the coastal area, which is located in the city center and Buaran, Pekajangan, and Wonopringgo.

This occurrence makes development in Indonesian batik so unique and this can be identified as extraordinary facts of Indonesian batik.

The Characteristics of Pekalongan Batik

  • Using Soga to Do the Coloring

You can say Pekalongan batik is different compared to another batik, because Pekalongan batik uses soga to do the coloring.

What is soga? Soga dye is actually a natural batik cloth dye and it comes from bark and plant roots.

But it seems that the use of soga is increasingly rare, because the process is more complicated than the use of textile colors.

  • Bright Colors Everywhere

If your mother is a lover of Pekalongan batik, you will certainly know this second characteristic of Pekalongan batik.

Pekalongan batik has bright colors all over the motifs, such as red, blue, green, violet and orange.

  • Mostly Using Floral Patterns

If in the previous section we talk about the typical colors of Pekalongan batik, then we move to the typical patterns of it.

Pekalongan batik is known with its floral patterns. We know that floral motifs are common motifs, but what makes Pekalongan batik special is that the flower motifs are smaller than those from other regions.

With smaller floral motifs, it will make people with a large body look slimmer when wearing the batik.

  • Mostly Using the Line and Point Technique 

The most unique feature of Pekalongan batik is that it uses many lines and point techniques.

The use of lines and points in the Pekalongan batik motif is due to the influence of external culture on the development of the batik motif including Chinese culture and Arabic culture.

The Motifs of Pekalongan Batik

  • Batik Liong
Motif Batik Sederhana Liong Pekalongan

Batik Liong is mostly influenced by Chinese Culture.

By Chinese ethnic who lived in Pekalongan, they also contributed by creating this beautiful motif based on the imaginary creatures, dragon and phoenix. 

Based on Chinese mythology, both of them are the symbols of fertility, prosperity, and goodness.

With this motif, they wish it can give influence to everybody who’s wearing this batik.

  • Batik Semen
Batik Motif Semen Rama | Gps Wisata Indonesia

Maybe you often see this motif in Batik Day Indonesia. Unlike the previous Pekalongan batik motif, the cement batik motif is a classic batik motif from Pekalongan.

Its appearance is almost similar to the classic batik motifs from Jogja and Solo, the difference lies in the absence of lizard motifs in the Pekalongan cement batik motif.

Cement batik motifs in the form of patterns that form images of the land with various creatures and plants on it including the eagle.

It means that the eagle is strong and able to survive with any condition, and the wearers are expected to have a strong power, too.

  • Batik Jlamprang
Sejarah Batik Jlamprang Motif Khas Kota Pekalongan

Jlamprang is strongly influenced by Islamic culture. In Islam, drawing living creatures is a forbidden thing.

So, the jlamprang motif consists of points, squares, circles and other shapes that form geometrically. 

Bright colors are another characteristic of the jlamprang motif. The Jlamprang motif is a famous Pekalongan batik motif because this is one of the Pekalongan batik motifs that is easily drawn. 

So, those are the interesting facts about Pekalongan batik.

Every Pekalongan batik has its own uniqueness, but which one is your favorite?