The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia has repudiated China’s claim on batik. Through Twitter account @Kemlu_RI, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that batik is the legacy of Indonesia’s ancestors and is closely related to people’s daily lives.
“Batik is a living ancestral heritage in our daily lives. Since 2nd October 2009, @UNESCO has established batik as a Human Heritage of Oral and Intangible Culture. Therefore, we celebrate 2nd October as #HariBatikNasional,” explained the tweet.
In the following tweet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs uploaded a photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, being inaugurated as President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where she and some attendees wore batik.
“The following photo is an unforgettable moment, when the Indonesian flag and Indonesian batik graced the UN Security Council meeting room when Indonesia became the President of the UN Security Council on 7 May 2019. Well, #FriendsofKemlu, post your batik pride here! #BatikDiplomacy #IniDiplomasi,” stated another tweet.
On Sunday 12th July, Chinese state-run media agency Xinhua News said that batik is a traditional craft that is common among ethnic groups in China and has existed in the country for a long time.
“Batik is a traditional craft that is common among ethnic groups in China. Using melted candles and tools such as spatulas, people dye cloth and heat it to remove wax. Look at how ancient handicrafts were developed in modern times. #AmazingChina,” Xinhua News wrote on their Twitter account @XHNews.
The post also included a video of the process of making batik, which lasted 49 seconds. It was explained that batik is a traditional Chinese craft that is usually used by minority ethnic groups in Guizhou and Yunan.
This post aroused controversy and immediately drew responses from Indonesian citizens who did not accept the unilateral claims of China. After many protests using the word “batik”, the media corrected their claims the next day.
“Ancient Chinese wax printing is very skilled and time-consuming. This craft is also known as batik, a word from Indonesia that refers to a wax-resistant staining technique that is practiced in many parts of the world. Thank you for @Kemlu_RI,” tweeted by Xinhua News.
Although the tradition of making batik is found in various countries, Indonesian batik is internationally well-known. Batik itself is a cloth that is painted with wax using a tool called canting and produces certain patterns.
The name batik is derived from the Javanese language, “amba” which means wide fabric, as well as “matik” or dots, which means batik is the result of connecting dots into certain patterns or images on wide fabric.
Quoted from the official website of the Government of West Java, the history of batik in Indonesia is related to the development of the Majapahit kingdom and the spread of Islamic teachings in the land of Java. Batik development was mostly done during the Mataram kingdom, as well as the kingdoms of Solo and Yogyakarta.
Initially, batik was only limited to the palace, the results of which were used by the kings, their families, and followers. But because many followers of the kingdom live outside of the palace, batik art developed and was brought to the society.
Source: CNBC Indonesia
Image: Informasi Batik Indonesia