The history of batik is closely intertwined with the royal palaces of Java. Batik first gained popularity during the reign of Majapahit kingdom (1293-1527), when it was worn only within kraton (Javanese court) circle, handmade by ladies in waiting. At the time, the design was ordered by the court – at times, by the king himself – to signify power, wisdom, abundance. This was why they’re restricted for royals -the king and his descendants- only. It was forbidden for common folks to wear the same motifs, hence the name “batik larangan” (forbidden batik).
Kawung also symbolises a modest king who always prioritises the welfare of his people. Kawung motif also signifies justice and prosperity. There are also some opinions that kawung is a palm fruit. Others argue that it is a simplified form of lotus, a symbol of sanctity and purity. In classical times (the Hindu and Buddhist kingdom era), the lotus is a symbol of the gods. Therefore kawung can also be interpreted as pure and holy.