Batik is a technique of decorating clothes in the dye bath by drawing lines in wax in order to protect some parts of the cloth from coloring. It is the method of decorating cloth with resist technique. The oldest surviving fabric produced with such a resist technique dates back to the sixth century. In Indonesia, the royalty and peoples of Solo and Yogyakarta in Indonesia are traditionally believed to have worn Batik. Today Batik has proliferated and different regions and communities have a variety of motifs, names and patterns, which distinctly differ in appearance.
The history of Batik and how long this method of decorating cloth has been practiced is difficult to establish with accuracy. Fragments of fabric decorated with resist technique have been found in tombs in China dating back to the 6th century, and by the 8th century the wax resist technique seems to have spread across East Asia to Japan. However it is by its Indonesian name of “Batik” that the process is best known. Most scholars concur that it is in Indonesia that the skill of Batik making reached the highest level of artistry (Kerlogue 2004: 12). There are references to drawing on cloth in Javanese texts dating back to the 12th century. If indeed these are the earliest references to Batik a moot point (Kerlogue 2004: 18).
Ethnically and linguistically diverse, Indonesia has a majority Muslim population, with a growing movement that discourages the realistic portrayal of animal and human forms in artistic activity. To get around such a dilemma, the batik worker does not attempt to express subject matter such as flora and fauna in a naturalistic way. Rather, the artist takes one or more of the key elements in a plant or an animal (such as a bud, a leaf, a seed, a feather, or a tail) and through elaborate embellishment, constructs it into a distinct design element. At first, the source of these motifs was fairly recognizable. With the evolution of the motif in the hands of new generations of batik artists, the original inspiration for the design is no longer always evident. In many cases, the name of the design element continues to provide a clue (Fraser1986).
Similarly, the design elements in Persian rug also fall within the Islamic non-figurative tradition, dominated by stylization and abstract geometrical patterns. Kilims (Figure 1) and pile rugs (Figure 2) are two basic types of rugs. Kilims are flat-woven rugs in a simple manner by looping weft (horizontal) threads around stationary warp (vertical) threads in order to create pattern. Pile rugs are made by knotting threads through the cross-hatched of weft and warp threads.
While Persian carpets enjoy popularity in Southeast Asia, its design has not been fully conditioned for the region’s audience and consumers. Persian carpet designers need to consider a cross- cultural design approach to re-invent their modes of working in order to find newer relevance in a highly globalized world.
Developing notes towards such a methodology, this paper seeks to integrate Persian carpet design with local and traditional motifs, which is popularly known in Southeast Asia as ‘Batik’ and is consumed as a part of people’s daily life across Indonesia and Malaysia. Persian carpet design has the capacity to be flexible enough to be mixed with different motifs, especially floral ones, because of how the garden was (and continues to be) treated as a crucial element in Persian weaving motifs, taking on the form of compartment carpets and other designs.
This paper focuses on integrating batik motifs into the design structure of the Persian carpet. To do that the following methodology has been used:
1- Archival: researching of different types of Indonesian batik motifs and carpet structure.
2- Studio Experiment: to establish a cross- cultural rug design employing the design elements from Batik and Oriental rug tradition. A series of studio experimentation is conducted using BOORIA (professional textile and carpet designing programme) and Photoshop software to produce design prototypes.
The first methodology helps to study Indonesian batik motifs, the structure of the Persian carpet and the relationship between them. The studio experiment methodology helps to apply the analysis in establishing a cross-cultural for the Oriental rug.
This paper discusses the three main classifications of Batik motifs, namely Isen or background designs, geometric designs and semen or non-geometric designs. It also elaborates on the seven categories of the Iranian carpet structure and the potentials of merging these two traditional arts, from two different cultural regions of the world. As such the cross-cultural carpet design will draw on the Persian carpet, and the semen motifs of flowers, leaves and birds chosen from Indonesian Batik motifs specifically from the northern coast of Java. The distinguishing characteristic of semen designs is that they are irregular, all-over patterns of tendrils, leaf and flower motifs which visually aligns them closer to the floral motifs of Persian carpets.