"Dodot" (Formal Lower Body Wrap) with Garuda and Flowering Plants, Batik


"Dodot" (Formal Lower Body Wrap) with Garuda and Flowering Plants, Batik

Textiles / Other Asia

Place of production:Central Java, Indonesia

Start of the 20th century


Batik is a wax-resist dying technique that originated on the Indonesian island of Java in the 19th century. There are two techniques to make batik cloth. One is to draw patterns of beeswax lines directly on cotton cloth using a tool called a canting. The other is to stamp repeating patterns onto cotton cloth using a beeswax-coated copper stamp called a cap. Once the designs are marked in beeswax, the cloth is dipped in indigo blue, madder red or sogan brown dye and only the wax-covered portions remain white. Making batik cloth is incredibly labor-intensive as the patterns must be redrawn for each color, and multiple dye sessions are required to produce a single piece.

There are many traditional patterns used in batik, each of which has its own unique name. The name semen refers to patterns that combine the motif of Garuda, a sacred bird in Indian mythology, or mountains and buildings with motifs of plants and animals. This type of pattern is said to express the world view of Javanese culture.

This batik garment, called a dodot, is made to be wrapped around the waist. A dodot is a formal garment twice the size of an ordinary waist wrap, and only royalty and nobility were permitted to wear them. The plain hexagon in the center of this piece is a feature of the dodot. It is surrounded by drawn and dyed semen designs of the sacred bird Garuda, sacred mountains, and temples.

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