Batik is a decorative cloth that for centuries has been worn by Sultans, their families, and other persons of nobility. The Sultan era ended in Jambi in the early 1900s, since then the cloth slowly began to be worn by everyone. Indonesians are very proud to wear batik since it displays designs which communicate a specific ethnic group’s unique culture.
The manufacture of batik is a lengthy process of drawing designs on cloth (or using hand stamps of 8” square), then applying wax by hand to the designs. The cloth is then dipped into dye. The wax prevents the dye from penetrating the cloth and thus the design is formed. This process is repeated several times to get multicolored cloth. The wax is removed by placing the cloth in large barrels of boiling water. This process must be done several times to ensure all the wax is out.
The dyes for batik are mostly obtained from natural products like sap, sawdust from certain woods, various plants, and seeds.
The original Jambi batik designs are said to number around 40. There are now many modifications to those original designs, as well as new designs that have been developed by Jambi artists. Some Jambi batik patterns borrow designs from neighboring regions of Indonesia and incorporate them into the Jambi patterns.
There are factories that make batik, but almost all Jambi batik is produced via “home industries.” The area that is most famous for having home industries like this is on the north shore of the Batanghari River in the City of Jambi, in the area known as Mudung Laut.
Songket is another type of cloth that is handwoven to produce traditional Indonesian clothing.
Click this link to see places we have listed where you can buy Jambi batik.