COURT BATIK -
"Batik kraton", or court batik, displays designs with ornaments from the Hindu-Javanese age as the product of a cultural syncretism that had a tremendous impact on batik designs. Many of the textile patterns displayed on Hindu temple statuary served as the inspiration for batik designs known today. This is closely connected to the conviction that almost all batik designs have philosophical significance.
Batik kraton, court batik, carries traditional designs, especially those that originated and developed in the Javanese courts. The arrangement of ornaments and their coloring constitute an interesting fusion of aesthetics, life philosophy, and the nature of the environment from which they sprang, that is the court environment. This masterpiece produced by princesses and court artists evolved from a creative process that was eternally linked to the outlook on life and traditions that prevailed within the courts and to contemporary technologies.
The majority of court batik designs reflect Hindu-Javanese influence which in the ages of Pajajaran and Majapahit had a tremendous impact on all Javanese life and beliefs and in the subsequent era displayed an Islamic nuance in the stylization of ornaments connected to human beings and animals.
The Hindu-Javanese influence is clearly reflected by the court batik depicting semen designs which present anintriguing, phenomenon in court batik. Althoughsemen has standard rules, it has benefited from freedom in the composition and selection of principal ornaments, fillings (isen), and complementary ornaments, which has given rise to many variants. Principal ornaments like the garuda-bird and tree of life are Hindu-Javanese mythological elements, while complementary growth, taro, constitutes an autochthonous Javanese element, and the stylization of ornaments into non-lifelike forms is a result of the Islamic touch, the blatant depiction of human and animal forms in artworks being proscribed. This stylization of form has become the general tendency in batik design, the exception being the Sudarawerti, a design from the Yogyakarta court that portrays the human form realistically. Islamic influence can also be seen in the Kawung Bouraq design.
Most of the classical cultural heritage of the Javanese people that remains with us to this day contains Hindu-Javanese elements, representing an assimilation of cultures that were maintained within palace walls through the ages despite the constant changes taking place in the community outside the palace walls, while Hindu-Javanese influence slowly sank from sight. This is also evident in the growth of batik designs originated from the courts and outside the courts.
Batik from the Surakarta palace has a surfeit of fine isen, 'fillings', imbuing it with great overall beauty. The colors are soft with an harmonious blend of hues. The traditional colors of Surakarta court batik are blue-blueblack, cream, and reddish-brown. The dyes were originally derived from natural matter, but today, to support the development of batik, synthetic dyes are also used.
Well-known batik designs from the Surakarta palace are Parang Barong, Parang Curiga, Parang Sarpa, Ceplok Burba, Ceplok Lung Kestlop, Candi Luhur, Srikaton and Bondhet. With respect to parang and lereng designs, Surakarta court batik is worn so that the diagonals slant downwards from right to left.