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The uniqueness of Madura Batik

by Annisa Putri Adriza

Indonesia is known best for its Batik, most region have their own signature Batik. First of all Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to a cloth. Batik can be made either by drawing dots and lines with a tool called tjanting or another technique is by printing with a copper stamp called a cap. Many batik patterns are symbolic, such as infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and certain batik designs are special for brides and bridegrooms.

Batik made in the island of Java has a diverse patterns influenced by a variety of cultures and it is known to be the most developed in pattern, technique and the quality of workmanship. Batik garments play a central role in certain Javanese rituals, like the ceremonial casting of royal batik into a volcano. The batik industry of Java flourished from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Since island of Java covers a large area of Indonesia, lets focus on the uniqueness of Batik Madura.

1. Colours

Different from the most popular known Batik, Madura batik has a character of using bold colors like green, red, yellow and blue. Each of the color has its own meaning. For example, red represent the character of the Madura society who is strong and hard, green represent a religious color where a few Islamic Kingdom is found and developed in Madura and yellow represent the grains of  the paddy farm by the native in Madura. Usually the bold color is the characteristic of batik Madura from coastal people. While the inland of Madura society has a softer color or dimmer color.

The colors are dyed using natural coloring, red from noni fruit, blue from the tarum leaf and green is made from mundu skin added with alum. Lighter or darker the color depends on how long the cloth is being soaked, it can be only 3 months up to 1 year. The longer the cloth is soaked in dye, the color will be more durable and darker.

2. Diverse motifs

Madura Batik has a collection of motifs, such as pucuk tombak, belah ketupat and rajut. Even some motifs brings up various flora as well as fauna around the society’s life. Here are some of the motifs:

  • Batik Maduara Keraben Sapeh
  • Batik Maduara Kempeng Saladerih
  • Batik Maduara Padih-kepa
  • Batik Maduara Sakereh
  • Batik Maduara Rawan
  • Batik Maduara Serat kayu
  • Batik Maduara Panca warna
  • Batik Maduara Banjar romo
  • Keong mas
  • Sekarjagat
  • Gorek basi

Despite all of the motifs that has been mentioned, the craftsman love to work according to their creativity which can lead to irregularities or slight deviations. The blank spaces between the motifs are always filled with drawings of vines or plants, all arranged in a particular pattern. This makes Madura batik have refined and complex images which is arduos and time consuming work. Refusing to commit to the fixed pattern results in a tendecy to simplify some motifs and to enlarge others.

3. One of a Kind

The next uniqueness of Madura Batik it is popular that every batik from Madura is different from one another. Madura batik is done by the craftsman authentically, so that there will not be any similarities with one pattern to another. Maybe you can model or similar pattern but it will never be the same, since each pattern has its own uniqueness. Batik Madura is widely known to use the drawing technique instead printing.

Since the pattern of Madura batik is more free and diverse patern, it is often decided by the craftsman itself. It is up to the craftsman instincts and thought to produce what to draw on the cloth. That’s why the batik usually has its own story.  Moreover, if the Batik has a difficult and detailed pattern can take up to a year in the making.

4. Tradition

The use Madura Batik is still a tradition that is embedded in the community. Every day Madurese still produce batik even when it was not popular back in the days, it is still a part of their culture for day to day. Right now, the craftsman and entrepreneurs of Madura Batik is more passionate to produce and sell batik cloth.

For example, Pamekasan is one of the industrial centers of Batik in Madura. For a long time, many craftsman and entrepreneurs involved and develop batik business in the region. Madura is known to have a number of batik centres but Pamekasan is the most populated of the craftsman and entreprenurs of Batik instead of other district in Madura.

Those are the 4 uniqueness of Madura Batik, colours, diverse pattern, one of a kind and tradition. Many people call Madura Batik as batik kasar which make a great injustice to the craftsman of Madura Batik. The final product always shows detailed and refined touches which make the batik a precious piece of art, can lead it to have an expensive price on the market. It is valued for its tricky patterns featuring dots, fine lines, curves and other. Basically, Batik with any shapes or pattern, whether it is Batik from Madura, Pekalogan, Jogja, Solo or any other region has a high culture and it is an art that needs to be defended, preserved and developed into a valuable asset of the country.

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