Batik as a storyteller of Indonesian culture

Batik illustrates the use of traditional hot melted wax and natural dye pattern making.

Infography by KALA

Did you know Indonesian Batik has more than 5,849 patterns and this figure is increasing as time goes by? Indonesia is an archipelago country that has 13,466 islands and 640 local languages ​​(source: UNESCO). This is one of the main reasons why Indonesia is a country that is very rich in culture. The difference between its regions can be seen from the uniqueness of each batik pattern.

Each batik pattern represents the culture of each region, and each has meaning interpreted through strokes, colours, dots, and other elements in the batik pattern.

For example, Papua, the easternmost region of Indonesia, has the ‘cendrawasih’ bird (‘bird of paradise’) of which the majority live in Papua. Because of that, they designated ‘cendrawasih’ birds for their batik pattern as something to show their identity. Meanwhile, Bali is a region that is surrounded by the sea. The main livelihood of the Balinese people is fishing. Therefore, we can see fish and shrimp in their batik pattern ‘ulamsari mas’ batik. And there are many more.

Indonesian Batik also has developed over time, from ancient batik that can be worn only by royal families, to contemporary batik that anybody can wear. Even though there are many modern batik patterns out there, the process by which each pattern of batik is born is what makes batik feel so authentic. The culture that batik brings, the life story, moral messages contained in the batik pattern- that’s what makes batik special.

Indonesian batik has its own charm that can be interpreted in many forms- it can either make the wearer feel royal, composed, elegant, glamorous, or even cheerful according to the whim of the maker.

Photo by Mahmur Maganti on Unsplash
Photo by Camille Bismonte on Unsplash

KALA’s own batik design comes in two different colours, red and green. We custom print based on demand (there is no waste) in three different countries: China, the UK and Indonesia. The scarf’s size is 75x75cm. They can also be used for bandanas, gift wrappers or to upgrade your handbag handles by giving them a personal touch. In different form factors, we also do custom print for canvas printed wall hung purposes.

Custom print fleece blanket in the UK, photo by Zara Morgan

Text by: Jessica Laksono


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KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

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