Batik is one of the most prominent expressions of the cultural identity of the Malay world. Not only is it the most popular traditional type of textile in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, but the various decorative styles used, bear testimony to a cultural history that spans at least two thousand years. This book traces the origins and development of the motifs and patterns used in the design of batik, illustrated with a large selection of masterpieces from some of the foremost textile collections in the world. The text provides an account of the cultural history of the Malay world to put the subject into a broader perspective. Furthermore, attention is given to batik technique, the traditional use of batik textiles, and to its occasional incorporation into modern fashion design. The historical centre of batik making is in Java, and naturally the focus is on the designs originating from there. However, batik is extensively used in other parts of the region, and is also made in Sumatra and in the Malay Peninsula.
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