http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/00170

Indonesian Batik

Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Indonesia

Identification

Description

Indonesian Batik

The techniques, symbolism and culture surrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments known as Indonesian Batik permeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and the dead are shrouded in funerary batik. Clothes with everyday designs are worn regularly in business and academic settings, while special varieties are incorporated into celebrations of marriage and pregnancy and into puppet theatre and other art forms. The garments even play the central role in certain rituals, such as the ceremonial casting of royal batik into a volcano. Batik is dyed by proud craftspeople who draw designs on fabric using dots and lines of hot wax, which resists vegetable and other dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water and repeating if multiple colours are desired. The wide diversity of patterns reflects a variety of influences, ranging from Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian peacocks. Often handed down within families for generations, the craft of batik is intertwined with the cultural identity of the Indonesian people and, through the symbolic meanings of its colours and designs, expresses their creativity and spirituality.

Documents

Decision 4.COM 13.44

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R.1: Indonesian Batik has a rich symbolism related to social status, local community, nature, history and cultural heritage; provides Indonesian people with a sense of identity and continuity as an essential component of their life from birth to death; and continues to evolve without losing its traditional meaning;
  • R.2: Inscription on the Representative List would contribute to ensuring the visibility of intangible cultural heritage at the local, national and international levels, raising awareness about its value and motivating practitioners, in particular younger generations, to continue its practice;
  • R.3: Various actors such as governmental and non-governmental institutions and community-based associations have jointly carried out safeguarding measures including awareness-raising, capacity-building and educational activities, and intend to continue these efforts;
  • R.4: The communities concerned were widely involved in the nomination process through field research in the communities; they also participated in the file preparation team and in a series of seminars to discuss the file contents, and provided their free, prior and informed consent;
  • R.5: The element is inscribed on the inventory of cultural elements maintained by the Department of Culture and Tourism.

Slideshow

Video


© 2007 by KADIN Indonesia Foundation and Indonesia Batik Museum Institute

These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website