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Hindu Influences in the Art of Indonesia - Wayang Batik

By: PRLog

Featuring Ramayan & Mahabharat figures in artworks from Cirebon, Indonesia

JURONG EAST, Singapore - Aug. 28, 2023 - PRLog -- Wayang Batik refers to a traditional form of Javanese art that combines two distinct Indonesian cultural elements: "wayang" and "batik."

  1. Wayang: Wayang is a traditional Javanese form of puppet theater that dates back centuries. These puppets are used to tell stories from traditional Javanese epics, religious texts, and historical narratives.
  2. Batik: Batik is a traditional Indonesian textile art that involves applying wax to fabric and then dyeing the fabric. The wax-resist technique creates intricate patterns and designs on the fabric. Batik is a significant cultural and artistic tradition in Indonesia, particularly in Java.
"Wayang Batik" combines these two art forms by using batik fabric as the medium to depict characters and scenes from the traditional wayang stories. Essentially, it involves creating batik designs that depict the characters and elements commonly seen in wayang performances. This fusion of art forms results in visually stunning and culturally rich pieces of fabric art.

As Wayang Batik is a unique art form that showcases the culture of Indonesia, at first glance finding Hindu Gods in the motifs is surprising. It makes one wonder about the cultural history of the place.

Most people are familiar with Bali and the Hindu culture that prevails on that island. But Cirebon, the place where Wayang Batiks are made, is relatively unheard of outside South East Asia.

The reason that Cirebon exhibits Hindu influences is the Hindu King Siliwangi  who ruled that region in the 15th century. Oral traditions, supported by Wayang performances, offer a glimpse into these influences and we see the Ramayan & Mahabharat well-entrenched in their cultural history.

At the time when this art form was born, the culture of Cirebon was a unified braid that had the Indian Hindu ideology as an important strand. Today, several hundred years later, though the art form has survived, the braid has unraveled and evolved.

Elaborate Wayang Batiks that were artworks created to depict Hindu legends are hard to find now. Wovensouls has recently acquired a group of Wayang Batik artworks that are on display and available for acquisition in the online art gallery.

As one studies the scenes in the Wovensouls Wayang Batiks, it is possible to identify some of the characters quite easily. Hanuman from the Ramayan, Ganesha and Shiva with Nandi are recognizable immediately.

But others involving Bhima would probably be recognised only by those well versed in Hindu culture. And the quest for identification is always a fulfilling one.

The Hindu influence on the Art of Indonesia makes Wayang Batiks a stimulating group of artworks to explore.


Jaina Mishra

Photos: (Click photo to enlarge)

Arjun in his Chariot - Asset 1747 Lord Ganesha - Asset 1749 on Lord Hanuman - Asset 1748 on

Source: wovensouls

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