Batik is a fabric dying method using wax / paste to create patterns and designs. This method makes use of a resist technique; applying areas of cloth with wax or paste (a dye-resistant substance) to prevent them from absorbing colors when the cloth is dipped into dye. Not only as a dye-resistant substance, the wax /paste applied is also used to control colors from spreading out from a particular area to create motif when the dye is painted. A method thought to be over a thousand years old, today; batik has taken on a much wider meaning. It can be referred to: cloth block printed with wax or Cloth decorated with hand-drawn designs. Cloth decorated with traditional batik designs without the use of the resist method .The use of batik has also extended from clothing to everything from home furnishings and table cloths to handicrafts.
However, Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (2010) has provided evidence that there are modern questions of culture that are transferred into questions of identity. Various cultural studies and social theories investigate the cultural identity. In recent decades, a new form of identification has emerged. This new form of identification breaks down the understanding of the individual as a coherent whole subject to a collection of various cultural identifiers. (2010) further claimed that, these cultural identifiers examine the condition of the subject from a variety of aspects including: place, gender, race, history, nationality, language, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity and aesthetics. Culture, as a social practice, is not something that individuals possess. Rather, it is a social process in which individuals participate, in the context of changing historical conditions. As a “historical reservoir”, culture is an important factor in shaping identity. Some critics of cultural identity argue that the preservation of cultural identity, being based upon difference, is a divisive force in society, and that cosmopolitanism gives individuals a greater sense of shared citizenship. That is not to always be divisive. When considering practical association in international society, states may share an inherent part of their ‘make up’ that gives common ground, and alternate means of identifying with each other. Examples can be taken from both old and contemporary world order.
The main focus of this study is to determine what alternative method in “batik production” innovative designs or techniques which could be adopted by the Yoruba that could ensure adequate representation as a cultural identity?
The term batik is said to have been derived from the Malay word ‘tik’ which means ‘to drip’ or ‘drop’, Dunsmore (1996) but exactly where and when the technique was first practiced is uncertain. However, it is likely that the principle was discovered independently in several different areas. Moreover, (Dunsmore,1996) further expatiated that the earliest known batiks dated to the 5th-6th century AD, were evacuated in Egypt and include a linen cloth with white patterns showing biblical scenes blue background. It was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians but it reached its highest development in Java, where it has been since the 7th century AD. In addition, the technique is claimed to have been more than a millennium old, that historically evidence indicated that the cloth decorated through some form of resist technique was in use in the early centuries AD in several West African, middle-eastern and Asian communities. (The Encyclopedia Americana international, 1993) it was developed in java or introduced by others has not been established. More to that, Boehike (2005) supported the claim that resist dyeing has a good geographical distribution, historically found in all continents except the pacific island and Australia. Roojen (1993) also provided and supported that a generally accepted theory is that, it was introduced by people from the Indian subcontinents, which are known to have travelled to Southeast Asia as early as 1000 AD. Indian trade textiles exported during the second millennium were very popular in Southeast Asia, and some of these were decorated using a wax – resist technique. Roojen (1993) further claimed that it was in java that the resist dye method of decorating fabric was developed to unprecedented heights and into unique art form. However, Dunsmore (1996) substantiated the claims that in West Africa resist is an ancient tradition that it is practised with the main centers of production in West Africa, in Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leon and the Gambia. Kerlogue (2007) came to the conclusion that the earliest known written reference to “batik “is almost certainly in the Dutch bill of landing of 1641 connected with a shipment of cargo from Bataria in Java to Bengkulu on the west coast of Samatra. However, it is the researcher’s opinion that whether the word was used to refer to precisely what we call “batik” today is uncertain. Due to many years of practical experience Quick, (1977) came to the conclusion that Batik is a resist technique for applying colour and design to fabric and that each colour dye protected by wax coating before the next colour is applied. Furthermore, Dunsmore (1996), attested to this evidence that resist dyeing technique, patterns are created on cloth ( usually on dyed cotton or silk ) by painting, or stenciling design in wax , rise, or cassava paste, mud, or some other dye assistance substance on the area intended to retain their original colour after dyeing. Patterns are applied in hot wax onto a piece of un-dyed cloth, usually cotton.
Colour plays an important role in batik making and as a result informed (Boehlke, (2005) to come up with the claims that monochromatic patters, white (cloth colour) and dark brown such as the Bogolan mud cloth of Mali, or white and Indigo as in batik of the Blue are more common. However, indigo blue was the commonest early dyes: it is especially suitable for batik as indigo dye process does not involve heat, which might destroy the resist Dunsmore (1996) claimed. (ibid, 1996) further discussed that natural dyes include all shades of indigo blue, yellow (rare) red and brown. Moreover, Boehlke (2005) attested to the fact that batik produced in java are also more colourful. And those traditional batiks from central java tend to have muted indigo motifs, browns, cream, and white in geometric motifs. a few, such as the Parang rusak, were restricted for use only in the royal palaces of Yogyakarta, Surakarta, and other central Javanese royal courts, but over time those sumptuary laws have fallen by the wayside.
Batik designs from central Java can be grouped into four categories, three are strong geometrics and the fourth is more organic Boehlke (2005) claimed. However, the first is the ‘garis’ miring of diagonally running designs such as ‘parang’ rust “broken knife”, the second is ‘mitik’ consisting of small dots or scallops as filler in large designs; this pattern imitates the visual effect of woven cloth, and the third is ‘ceplok’ which has grid-formed designs inspired by rosettes and cross-sections of fruits, while the fourth is the ‘semen’ category of styled flora and fauna motifs.
Block printing is among the earliest forms of textile printing. Among the oldest existing examples is a child’s tunic of the fourth century A.D. from a burial site in upper Egypt; claimed Gillow (2005) , however, it is known that printing blocks were used in India during the fourth century B.C. By the late middle Ages, block printing was an established trade in Europe, particularly in Italy and Germany, and during the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, craft became a very prosperous industry. Gillow (2005) further claimed that the blocks were made in different woods for different purpose: boxwood and holly for small scale, finely detailed patterns; pear for borders; walnut and lime for large-scale prints. However, this will make the design stand out in relief on the carved wood. Since the different colours occupy different shapes in the design, separate blocks had to be carved for each colour. The cloth is usually stretched tight on a long padded table. Dunsmore (1996) claimed that as the demand for Indonesia batik increased in the 19th century, metal stamp (caps) came into use for applying the hot wax to the cloth more speedily. Yes, it is true that the cap which is usually operated by men consist of thin shaped copper strips shaped together with pins soldered on to a metal base with a handle on the reverse side. However, Boehike (2005) supported this claims that towards the middle or end of the 19th century, Chinese batik makers on the north coast of java designed a type of copper stamp called cap (pronounce chop) a configuration of needles sheet metal strips which was pressed into hot stamp pad and use to transfer the wax to the cloth. (2005) further claimed that the caps were paired as mirror into images to wax the top and underside of the cloth. Stamp batik is a much faster process than tulsi, a skilled worker can wax twenty cloths in a day.
For more regulated pattern effects, (Belfer 1992) came up with suggestion that it is possible to make stamping devices which, like Indonesian Cjanting tool, can press the wax motif into the cloth. Blocks of this type can easily be adapted from objects collected from many sources. Belfer (1992) further suggested that for ease in handling, they should be mounted on a small block of wood or fitted with an improvised holder or handle. However, it is true that many sample objects can be used directly without any preliminary mounting. Belfer (1992) substantiated the suggestion that when planning your stamp, select abased material that will hold the hot wax long enough for a satisfactory impact to be made. In substantiating the processes of batik (Boehlke, 2005) claimed that batik is one of the process known as a resist dyeing, in which the surface design on cloth is applied with a semi-fluid substance (wax) that resist dye. He went further to say that when the substance is removed, resulting “negative space” or motif contrast with the dye which a statement of fact is.