On October 2, 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO defines oral and intangible heritage as “the totality of tradition-based creations of a cultural community expressed by a group or individuals and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community in so far as they reflect its cultural and social identity.”
Batik, a cloth that traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique, plays an important role in the life of Indonesians being mostly the choice to be used in weddings and other momentous events. Only in the late 19th century that this art began to reach its finest form in Java, Indonesia. Thus Indonesian batik has become very popular throughout the world. The equipment used in the making of batik cloths are rather simple.But the art of making the canting tulis (the penlike instrument), which is used to hold the liquid wax to draw out the design needs a skillful copper tool-maker to place together the spout onto the copper basin.
The batik artisitic side and design is also important since the creator needs to know what colors to use and where to apply it. Batikker will need the patience to draw on the white cloth with the canting, to wax the lines to separate the sections of the drawing. Painstakingly the batikker will dip the canting into the pot of liquid wax (beeswax and paraffin) to collect a small amount of wax, and use it to draw on the cloth. It can literally take days and months event some may take more than a year for one masterpiece to emerge. Painting, washing, waxing and adding colors again… the repeated process on various designs and drawings will need a passionate, skillful, and patient person to handle it. Depending on the fabric, dyes, and the artwork, Batik has a wide range of qualities with the finest Batik silk cloth can fetch several thousand dollars and took several months even up to a year or more, depending on the intricacy in making it. It takes 5-10 years for a person just to learn the technique of drawing and making Batik clothes, while it takes decades to become a maestro capable of creating new Batik patterns with deep meanings.