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batik(bətēk`), method of decorating fabrics practiced for centuries by the natives of Indonesia. It consists of applying a design to the surface of the cloth by using melted wax. The material is then dipped in cool vegetable dye; the portions protected by the wax do not receive the dye, and when the wax is removed in hot water the previously covered areas display a light pattern on the colored ground. Remains of clothing found in Java indicate that the same or similar patterns have been in use for about 1,000 years and are handed down in families. Certain designs were traditionally reserved for royalty and high officials. Motifs are geometric or are based on conventionalized natural objects. Cotton cloth is generally used, and some silk. Batik was first brought into Europe by Dutch traders. In the 19th cent., Western artisans adopted the art.
(Malay), a painting technique; also a multicolored fabric decorated by batik. Batik is based on a design applied to the fabric with a composition impervious to dyes. (If the “hot” method is employed, heated wax is used; if the “cold,” rubber glue.) After this, the fabric is dyed in a vat or with the aid of tampons. Other colors are applied by dyeing the fabric again, after parts of the wax outline are removed. The “hot” batik method has long been known to the peoples of Indonesia (especially on the island of Java), India, and others. The basic colors of Indonesian batik are indigo blue and brown; the traditional designs are very varied and often have a symbolic meaning. Batik began to be used in Europe on decorative textiles at the beginning of the 20th century. Batik painting became a popular art form in the Soviet Union in the early 1930’s, primarily on silk kerchiefs and mufflers and later, on decorative panels.
REFERENCESKoriukin, V. N. Batik: Khudozhestvennoe oformlenie tkanei. Leningrad, 1968.
Fiegert, J. Die Kunst des Batikens. Dresden, 1963.