Batik Dress of Java
Batik—a wax-resist dyeing technique used to produce a range of traditional garments, is a prominent feature of Javanese culture. Each of the major ethnic groups living on the island—Javanese, Sundanese, Chinese, Eurasian, and Arab, used batik textiles as markers of their identity and social status, which resulted in the development of several regional and ethnic styles. At the same time complex iconography, rich symbolic language, and the high accomplishment required to produce many of these textiles gave batik cloth the recognition of being a major form of Javanese visual arts. Some of the designs, which are vested with special powers or represent the cosmic order, have been restricted to the personal use of the rulers at the courts of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. Following the creation of an independent Republic of Indonesia in 1945, batik received the status of a national textile and was also introduced to other parts of the country. In the 1970s, the first attempts were made to introduce high-quality batik into Indonesian haute couture and to launch Javanese textiles on the international fashion scene. The initiator of this movement is Iwan Tirta, who found many followers among the younger generation of Indonesian designers.
This is an abstract of an article from the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The full article is available in the Berg Fashion Library.
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