Batik Motifs

Discover the patterns, symbols, and designs of Indonesia’s signature craft

By Google Arts & Culture

Kain Panjang Pagi Sore 626 (2000) by unnkownGaleri Batik YBI

Batik, originating from the Javanese word meaning “painted”, uses a wax-resist dyeing process to produce colorful textiles. Developed on the island of Java, lines and patterns created in Indonesian batik are particularly symbolic and in 2009, UNESCO named Batik in Indonesia a “Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Zoom into these extravagant Batik textiles and explore the secret patterns and hidden stories that bring these national treasures to life.

Ikat Kepala/Udeng 44 (1930) by UnknownGaleri Batik YBI

The Sawa

It’s a bird! It’s a... polygon? This diamond-shaped motif, called “Sawa,” represents the mythical bird Garuda from Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

Ikat Kepala/Udeng 64 (1950) by UnknownGaleri Batik YBI

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the Sawa – the wide-winged shape represents power, force, and speed.

Batik Pagi SoreUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

The Parang

Once used exclusively by royalty, the parallel and diagonal patterns of this Batik signify authority.

Kain Panjang 448 (1980) by unknownGaleri Batik YBI

The detailed motif in these lines are also often interpreted as ocean waves.

Kain Panjang Pagi Sore Bolak Balik-197 (1940) by M.V. Tan Tjeng TongGaleri Batik YBI

Floral Batik

Floral patterns are common in Batik, used to decorate the textiles with curves and color.

Kain Panjang Pagi Sore 626 (2000) by unnkownGaleri Batik YBI

The lotus blossom is sacred in Hindi-Buddhist belief systems and often appears in batik textiles.

Kain Panjang Pagi Sore 667 (1950) by unknownGaleri Batik YBI

Other flowers that are frequent favorites in Batik include the frangipani, hibiscus, and lilies.

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