The Exact Origin of Batik Is Uncertain.
Its roots can be found in many forms in many ancient cultures, including examples from 1st century Egyptian tombs. Batik became a highly accomplished art form in 13th century Indonesia, which is still the world's foremost Batik area. Modern, updated approaches give this ancient art a new look.
Batik is a "resist" technique. Melted wax is applied to the fabric, and then the fabric is dipped in colored dye (the waxed areas "resist" the dyes). The fabric is allowed to dry, and then wax is applied where that color is to be saved. The process is repeated again for each color in the design, working from the lightest color to the darkest. Color choices must be carefully planned, because each new color mixes with the previous colors in unwaxed areas. Mysterious and sometimes magical changes occur when waxed fabrics are dipped into different color baths. The crackle or veining that appears in most Batiks is caused by cracks in the wax that allow the dye to penetrate to the fabric. After the final color is applied, the wax is removed by either ironing or dry cleaning, and the final artwork is revealed.