Indonesia is one of the most diverse country when it comes to cultural heritages. If you ever visit the country, you must be familiar with their traditional fabric called batik. Traditional Indonesian batik fabric can be considered one among the most developed art in the country. During your first time visiting a batik factory or store, you may experience the overwhelming stimulation thanks to the richness of its patterns and colors, as well as its strong, yet unique smell. The origins and design types will only become apparent after a little bit study and repeated visits. Batik is derived from ambatik, a Javanese word that can be translated as a cloth with tiny dots.
To create batik, silk or cotton is the most common natural materials that is used for its cloth. Those materials are chosen because it is able to absorb the malam or wax, which is applied during the process of dye resistance. The fabric used for traditional Indonesian batik fabric should be densely woven, or having high thread count. This attribute is very important to maintain the qualities of batiks intricate designs. This cloth will be boiled and washed in water numerous times before applying the wax to make sure every traces of chalk, starches, lime and other materials can be removed. Due to the strict standards of the industry these days, the quality of batik fabric can be separated into Prima and Primissima (the finest). This indicator is usually written at the edge of the batik design.
Back then, traditional Indonesian batik fabric was decorated with gold dust or gold lead for particular occasion, which is also better-known as Prada cloth. This practice was commonly used within the Surakarta and Yogyakarta area (using Gold leaf). Within Central Javanese, Gold dust was more commonly used to decorate the Prada cloth. The application uses special handmade glue created from yellow earth, and linseed oil or egg white. The gold applied to the cloth will remain intact even when you washed it many times. Applying gold to older batik fabric can also be done to give a fresh look to the fabric. The gold can have its own design or simply follow the existing design within the cloth. Applying gold on batik fabric is still pretty popular these days, but gold paint is no longer be used. Most fabric uses natural materials such as gold leaf and dust.