Batik from Sri Lanka
The word batik in all languages of the world, including Sinhalese
and English came from Bahasa Indonesia. But this does not mean at all that batik is a kind of art for painting on cloth, borrowed by artisans of Sri Lanka. Who was the founder, in which part of Asia for the first time this delightful art was born, it is now impossible to establish for sure. Although, in addition to Sri Lanka and India, the production of batik is widespread in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and African Nigeria, most likely it is the Sri Lankan batik that is the oldest. According to the chronicles, in Sri Lanka, the batik existed, like hand-written, elegant clothes for royalty, back in the 6th century AD, and the first evidence of the existence of a batik school in Indonesia dates back only to the 13th century.
Sri Lankan cloth art penetrated into other parts of Asia, and later to Africa, along with Arab merchants and navigators who cruised between the shores of Sri Lanka and virtually all other ancient states located in the Indian Ocean basin. Having reached the shores of Indonesia, samples of outlandish and colorful fabrics from Lanka so attracted Indonesian, Javanese artisans that they gave a new life to this art form and brought to it many local elements.
What is Sri Lankan batik? Batik is a technique for using beeswax when staining a tissue with plant paints, which is able to resist dyeing on those parts of the tissue where the wax is applied by the wizard. Batik is made by the method of drawing dots and lines manually with a pencil, or using a waxing wax tool called «skew.» A more rare technique is to print a copper cap stamp. Only beeswax is used, which resists dyes, and therefore allows the specialist to apply a fragment of the pattern selectively to the desired tissue site in one color. Then, removing the wax in boiling water, the fabric is dried, and the master repeats the staining of other areas and other colors, if several colors are desired or needed.
Approximately until the middle of the 12th century, intricate floral patterns with rounded edges, as well as a lotus, a sacred flower in Hinduism and Buddhism — were the most common motif on the fabric that was used as clothing in Sri Lanka. In the future, the motifs and plots were significantly diversified. On cloth began to depict nature, animals, subjects of Buddhist
legends, Kandiyan dancers
, Sigiriyan maidens
and many, many other images that make up the notion of Sri Lankan culture. Today, the manufacturing technology has not changed much since ancient times, and for the production of one cut fabric for clothing or linen for the picture goes, depending on the size, from 2 weeks to 1 year!
In Europe, the technique was first described in London in 1817 by Stamford Raffles. In 1873 the Dutch merchant Van Rijkevorsel assembled various pieces of fabric made in batik style during a trip to Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia, and brought this collection to the ethnographic museum of Rotterdam. Today the Tropenmuseum in Rotterdam has the largest collection of batik in the Netherlands.
In Africa, the technology of batik from Ceylon was brought only in the 19th century by Dutch and English merchants. Local residents adapted the batik, applying a variety of local motifs on cloth with thicker lines. In the 1970s, the batik was adapted in Australia, where the artist from the Australian aboriginal tribe, Ern Bell, developed it as his own business.
Over the past century, the batik in Sri Lanka has been firmly reborn, being in decline, as the direction of art for several centuries. Sri Lankan batik uses only the individual design and talent of the master. Basically, batik is made for export under the order of foreign customers. As a rule, it is almost impossible to find identical products of masters on the island. Even if the motif of the pattern is similar to the neighboring pattern, its colors and brush strokes will still differ. This is still highly artistic manual work, and each product is unique, unique and made in a single copy. In recent years in Sri Lanka batik — the most visible kind of handicraft. Now throughout the country it will not be difficult to see galleries and factories, large and small, they are often located in many tourist areas. Rows of small stalls selling batik can be found from Hikkaduwa to Galle. In the Kandy area is located a number of exhibition boutiques selling batik. There, tourists are allowed to watch the process of making these unique works of art. Mahaveva is also famous for its batik factories.
Batik today includes many motifs and colors, some traditional, others — very modern and individual. The material, created in batik technique, is used for the production of dresses, shirts, sarongs and beachwear, which is well suited for the tropics. Many tourists in seaside resorts, such as Hikkaduwa or Tangalle, wear batik clothes throughout the vacation, then bring home exclusive and provocative attention and delight of compatriots things. In addition to clothing, tablecloths, wall panels, beachwear made from pure cotton and silk, men's and women's clothes and bedspreads are popular, as a reminder of a visit to Sri Lanka. It is always a prestigious and exclusive piece of clothing or an accessory of the interior inside the house. And always it's only 100% natural fabrics and dyes.
offers direct deliveries from manufacturers the most diverse products in the style of batik:
• Men's and women's clothes
• Pictures, panels
• Pillow cases
• Painted fabric sections ready for sewing
• Personal customized products
• Boutique products in single copies
With terms of deliveries to your country — small, medium (Sri Lanka Post) and large shipments (Cargo) — you can find out by sending a request to Lankarus in free form to the e-mail address:
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