Batik's true origin is still a mystery. The word 'batik' has been translated to mean 'to dot'. Some translated it as 'wax writing' or 'drawing with a broken line'.
It is a very old form of art, as evidence of early batik has been found in the Middle East, Egypt, Peru, Japan, East Turkistan, Europe, as well as Central Asia (India and China) as far back as 2000 years ago. Despite its uncertain origins, batik has reached its highest artistic expression in South East Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Batik was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century when the Dutch, who colonized Java, Indonesia, introduced this art form to that part of the world.
Batik is a crafted fabric that needs to undergo the delicate and repeated process of waxing, dyeing and boiling.
Wax is used as a mean of color blocking in the coloring process. Every part of the fabric that remains untouched by a certain color has to be covered with wax. There are also several sub-processes like preparing the cloth, tracing the designs, stretching the cloth on the frame, waxing the area of the cloth that does not need dyeing, preparing the dye, dipping the cloth in dye, boiling the cloth to remove wax and washing the cloth in soap.
The more colors a batik fabric has, the more times it has been through the process of applying wax, dyeing, and drying, then removing the wax. The process has to happen in a precise order that will produce the pattern or figures that are desired. Additionally, the order of which colors to apply also has to be followed.
Batik paintings varied widely in quality, thus its prices. Many paintings in the market may look identical, but yet the fetching price could be different. AsianSecrets.my has gone through the great pain of quality assurance process to ensure the quality of the batik painting that we bring to our customers are not compromised.
How can one judge and evaluate a piece of Batik Painting from another? Here are some of the guidelines:
1. Like its counterparts in oil painting and watercolor painting, batik paintings have its share of counterfeit. Batik paintings that are highly in demand and enjoy a price premium always become the target for copying. They may look quite similar in design and color scheme, however close scrutiny may discover that they are not from the same original artist.
2. It is not uncommon for an artist to employ assistants to help in some of the stages of his work of art. The tedious work of certain process, for instance the dotted line of a particular painting, may leave to their assistant. Hence the quality of the assistant at times also determines the quality of a painting. Keeping track of the movement and turnover of these assistants around a particular artist also become an important part of the quality assurance process.
3. Even the same batik painting from the same artist may vary in its quality based on:
- The number of layer of wax-dye-boil-dry iterative process a painting has gone through. Normally the higher the number of this iterative process one painting has gone through, the better the quality of the painting.
- Same design of batik painting are painted with different degree of the detail put through by the artist in a mass produced environment. The more refined and detailed the painting are, the better will be the quality.
- Each piece of batik painting undergoes many round of wax-dye-boil-dry iterative process. As a result, at times mistake may occur which require close scrutiny to discover. A careless drip of wax onto a near completed piece of batik painting may not be easily spotted if by just merely looking into a digital picture.
- The quality of the materials such as cloth, wax and dyes used in the painting process may also determine the outcome of a particular painting. A painting that uses different quality of materials will end up differently in quality.
- The intricacy of the design and the pattern also determine the quality of a batik painting. The process of making batik painting can take up to weeks if the design is complex and the pattern is of great intricacy.