Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - Feature -

Dis­sim­i­lar to the de­signs of to­day, Ra­mayana batik de­picts fig­urines with fa­cial fea­tures such as those de­picted in a Wayang Kulit. It is one of the ear­li­est forms of de­sign in In­done­sia. It is unique, as it tells a story, un­like other tra­di­tional geo­met­ric Batik de­signs like Kawang, Ce­plok, Parang and Betawi batik, some of which are be­lieved to bring good luck, pro­tec­tion, vic­tory, or to pos­sess heal­ing prop­er­ties.

It is be­lieved that tra­di­tional de­signs and colours such as beige, blue, brown and black made from nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents were used in Cen­tral Java (blue is the old­est colour, fol­lowed by brown). Chi­ne­se­in­flu­enced batik in the North Coast of Java, how­ever, of­ten de­picts in­tri­cate de­signs such as flow­ers in bolder hues. Mean­while, in Jog­jakarta and Surakarta, gold leaf (oth­er­wise known as Prada) was used for spe­cial oc­ca­sions un­til it was re­placed by gold paint.

In Malaysia, one is able to see the shift from tra­di­tional to mod­ern Batik pat­terns. Tra­di­tional pat­terns come in lay­ers, fo­cus­ing on the soft curves of flow­ers, sharper edges, and geo­met­ric and in­tri­cate pat­terns in dark and bold colours. With time, the fo­cus shifted to the use of lin­ear shapes in de­pict­ing an­i­mal move­ments, while mod­ern de­signs are “cleaner” with more ev­i­dent white space. In later days, with newer tech­niques like screen paint­ing and cant­ing, de­signs were fur­ther sim­pli­fied, which would of course af­fect the sym­bolic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of tra­di­tional de­signs. The blues and browns gave way to more at­trac­tive shades of red, pink, pur­ple and or­ange.

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