One of the works from Indonesian people culture is batik. Batik is still used until now as the weared material for everyday use. It also is used for some special purposes too. Batik in Indonesia has the development of its design as the result of its connection into some cultures entering Indonesian Archipelago. It can be said too that batik is the immortal traditional fashion from Indonesia from the ancient time until now.
The most prominent area in Indonesia where batik is made is the Island of Java. Some of its centers are Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Pekalongan, Cirebon, Tasikmalaya, and Garut. One of the batik producers in West Java that is prominent enough is Garut. This area until now still produces the special pattern and color of batik material. To know the development of batik in Garut relating to its patterns, colors, materials, function and its marketing can be done through the theoretical and the empirical study.
The object observed in this writing now is the work of tradition work from West Java culture especially the city of Garut. Beside of presenting the historical aspect of the object, this study also is tended into the shape elements contained in Batik from Garut. Based on its form, Garut Batik is produced through the implementation of some techniques that need the high skill on it. Nevertheless, the form of batik is not depended on the skill only but also it needs the spiritual sensitivity and the patience. This writing is only the work for presenting Garut batik in the form of the brief descriptions about history, development, and symbolization of some philosophical values contained on it. As the presentation, of course the deep analysis is not done yet. The ruler of the regency of Garut and the province of West Java also are active for doing the familiarization ways toward Garut batik through newspaper, electronic media, and internet.
In relation with the production, Garut batik besides of is being functioned as sinjang but it also is functioned for some other purposes. The form of Garut batik motives is the mirror of social cultural life, philosophy of life, and the habit of Sundanese people. Some of the visual implementation of Garut batik can be described through its motive and colors. Based on the ideas begin the production of Garut batik, the motives are presented through geometrical forms as the special characteristics of its decorations. The other forms of Garut batik motives are flora and fauna. Geometrical form is commonly directed into the diagonal strip, palm leaf form, or lozenge-shaped. The colors are dominated by cream color that is combined with some attractive colors.
Batik has been found in Indonesia from a Long Time
For long centuries batik has been developed in Indonesia in line with the development of its environment. In the past time batik is used in religious ceremony or certain ritual especially in Palace circle. Until now batik is still used in formal ceremonies like Javanese marriage. Batik is one of the Indonesian traditional textile forms that have been developed from its first design, a long history, and the touch of so many cultures. Until now it cannot be found the archaeological evidence that can say about the first time of the batik appearance in Indonesian Archipelago.
As the creation work of nation, batik has the meaning related to the tradition, belief, and some activity in a society. It is mirrored through its motif and colors that are developed in the circle of Keraton Yogyakarta and Surakarta or in the circle of the noble people (ningrat) and they who are stayed in the coastal area. In general, batik that is developed in outside of the Keraton is commonly dynamic and it is changed faster with so many variations of its characteristics. This type of batik becomes the traded thing that its motif and color are in line with the taste of its buyer. However, there is commonly the influence between one and another of batik keratin and the beach batik or outside Keraton batik.
Looked from the art of design/kriya, batik textile can be classified as the surface design type. That is the process of enriching or decorating the cloth. The tool used for painting in the surface of mori cloth is canting and the process itself is called as membatik (mbatik). In its development, it uses some other tools too that is better for making the fastener process of its creation by using the seal. The sealing proses can create batik motif but of course its quality can be lower than the one that is done by using canting.
The result of batik painting then is called by using some various names of decorations of it is called too as motif. In general, the appearance of motif is influenced so much and related to some factors like the geographical location of the batik creator, the characteristic of rule of life, belief, and habit, the nature environment, and the appearance of the contact or relation between some areas of batik creation. Because of that, to know the art of batik it can be seen from some aspects like the process of its creation, the quality of batik creation, the motif, and its color. The position of Indonesian Archipelago that is in the trade line, especially the coastal area, there must be the influence of it into the local culture and art too.
The Origins of Garut Batik
The activity of creating batik is spread into the whole area of java in the time of Diponegoro War is ended in 1830. During the era of Diponegoro War against Dutch colonizer, Dutch forces the family of the palace and all of the followers to leave the area of the palace. At the time the king’s families in Yogya and Solo must flee and stay in some new regions. The fleeing families of palace then spread into Banyumas, Pekalongan, Ponorogo, Ciamis, Tasikmalaya, Garut, and some other regions around Central Java, East Java, and West Java (Tirtaamidjaja, 1966: 25).
Besides of is developed in Central Java, batik also is developed in West Java with its special unique characteristics. Some of the cities in West Java that produce batik are Cirebon, Indramayu, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis, and Garut. One of the cities that still keep the tradition of creating batik is Garut and the batik is called as the Genuine of Garut Batik. The motif of Garut batik is classified as the natural coastal beach batik while its special color is gumading or golden (Djoemena, 1990: 51). However, there are some similarities or influences from the variations of batik in Yogya and Solo and also some of the other regions in West Java like Cirebon and Indramayu in line with the appropriating taste with Garut style. If it is looked from its motif, color, and the composition of its color and style, Garut batik until now is still liked by people in line with the time goes by and the development of cloth perfecting technology for creating some variations of batik clothes along with its characteristic variations. To know the development of Garut batik relating to its motif, color, material, function, and its marketing, it must be composed the type of theoretical and empirical study. So, it is hoped that this study can present the appearance of Garut batik to be developed more in the future.
From the explanation above it can be understood that the art of Garut batik is the part of creolization process, that is the acts of imitation from Javanese culture or Majapahit and the appropriateness between its characteristics with the element of local culture (Garut or more wider one: priangan). This opinion of course is legal and argumentative one. Nevertheless, in line with the title of this writing that is analyzing the connection between Garut Batik and the identity of Garut/ Priangan, it must be seen too other views about the development of Garut batik.
The tradition for creating batik in Sundanese people can be found from long time ago. It is said as starting long time before the 16th century when Siksa Kanda Ing Karesian is created since some motives of batik can be found inside the text. Some of the relics can be found from the old time are some clothes from two or three centuries before that are called as simbut Banten. People of Garut like to create batik and then they also compose some new variations of batik in line with the culture, nature, and their taste. The result then is called as Garut batikan.
The development of Garut batik cannot be discussed without mentioning Karel Frederick Holle who is a theejonker or the prince of tea. In the beginning he is working as the administrator in tea easte in Cikajang Garut. Then he creates his own tea eastet called as Bellevue. He gives the great attention into Sundanese culture including Garut batik and gamelan (Djumena, 1990: 25). Then he produces the Garut batik in his estate and beside of produce it for himself, Holle also sells his product into people around him. It becomes the starting point when Garut is popular not only in the circle of Garut regency but also in the whole regions of Priangan. Then it becomes the special product of Garut until now and becomes one of the interesting merchandises for the tourists.