As the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) trade agreement took form on January 1, 2010, Chinese textiles have marked their entry in the Indonesian markets and due to this a lot of people seem to be bewildered, unable to distinguish between Chinese batik and Chinese-made textiles with batik designs.
A garment manufacturer, explained that Chinese batik encompasses batik motifs which are developed by Chinese who have established themselves in Indonesia, ever since 13th century. Most of them have settled down in the coastal areas of Java, like Cirebon and Indramayu in West Java, Pekalongan (Central Java) and Lasem and Tuban (East Java).
As these Chinese artisans blended with the locals, they gradually adopted local customs and traditions to the extent that they even adopted their dressing style with Chinese women now dressing up themselves in sarongs and batik and men in trousers made of batik.
With passage of time, they started developing their own batik, encompassing designs which were a blend of Chinese and Indonesian culture. Conventional Chinese batiks includes motifs of animals that usually form part of Chinese mythology like dragons, lions, the phoenix, peacocks, turtles and kilin (a dog with lion head).
In beginning of the 20th century, Chinese batik prospered by making use of symbols like those engraved on antique ceramic items, images of gods and goddesses and depicting the sky in red colour, as usually Chinese people do.
Influenced by the motifs that established batik Belanda and batik Cirebon encompass, typical Chinese batik too incorporated motifs like flowers in brighter shades of red, blue and yellows.
In some of the areas, Chinese batiks encompassed designs resembling the one used in the classical Javanese batik. Also, being inspired by batik Demak, which is located on the northern shore of Central Java, and to catch the attention of domestic customers, they even promoted motifs in darker colours like brown.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India