Originally a Javanese word which meant 'writing with wax', batik has come a long way since it was spread across East Asia by Dutch colonial officers.
Originated in Indonesia and introduced to Sri Lanka by Dutch at the turn of the 19th century, the batik industry in Sri Lanka has developed into a unique form of textile art exclusive to the country.
Originated as a primary art of fabric dying, Batik has evolved into a vibrant industry of fabric art in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore with their own identity, methodology and design. In its purest form batik is a method of decorating a piece of cloth by creating a pattern on it with wax and coloring rest of the piece of cloth, creating a vibrant mosaic with colored and uncolored areas.
Painstaking and time-consuming, Batik was originally a hobby of the elitists in Kandyan court. The aristocratic ladies of the central kingdom were skilled practitioners of batik and soon the skills of batik were introduced to the artesian classes, who developed tapestry, regional flags and traditional clothes of the aristocrats with batik fabrics.
However, batik industry was limited to a cottage industry until the late 1970s, when a growing tourism culture in Sri Lanka gave a sudden boom to many local handicrafts including batik.
Today Batik textile manufacturing in Sri Lanka is deep rooted into the local culture and many local artists have embraced it as one of our own, developing unique wax resist and dying techniques to create batik designs that are unique to Sri Lankan batik artists.
Just like the times, it was first introduced to Sri Lanka, batik has become the realm of village-based women, who create beautiful designs on clothes with just dexterity of their hands and pure imagination.
After nearly three hundred years since its Sri Lankan initiation, batik designs are being portrayed heavily in Sri Lankan fashion designs today. Made in silk and cotton, designed by leading fashion houses and produced by local batik producers in Sri Lanka; batik clothes fetch extremely high prices in local and global markets.
Local interior designers are also maximizing the batik's use of vibrant colors in producing unique lamp shades, linen, tapestry, and upholstery to court international attention.
Original Video credits : Buddhi Batiks