(Glossary Term)

Batik is a technique used to decorate woven cloth using a resist-dyeing process. The resisting agents used may be damar tree sap, rice paste, wax, or even mud. In Java, wax is the most common resist material, applied in a molten state. The finest and most valuable batik textiles are waxed using a pen-like tool called a canting. In the mid-19th century, the cap, a metal stamp, was developed for faster production at the expense of less flexible designs. The most refined batiks are waxed on both sides of the fabric, making them completely reversible. Hand-drawn batik is mainly created by women, while batik cap is made only by men. The wax is later removed by boiling the cloth in hot water, leaving the resisted area in the cloth’s original color in contrast with the dyed area. Java is where the batik process reached its fullest expression, using repeated resist and dyeing steps to create complex, multi-colored designs.

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