Batik is Indonesia’s Indigenous Cultural Heritage that we should be proud of, especially, since Batik was recognized as Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO in October 2nd, 2009. Since then, October 2nd has been commemorated as Batik Day nationally and internationally.

Indonesian Batik is known to have various different types and patterns. Some regions are known as the leading batik producers in Indonesia; the batik artisans usually have their own unique patterns which are hardly imitated by batik artisans from other cities. This fact confirms that Indonesian batik is rich. Today, we’ll introduce you to batik pattern from Sumatera. 

batik undeniably impresses the sense of Java. Even, the name of “Batik” was taken from Javanese words, “Amba” and “Tik”. Amba means “menulis” or writing and Tik means “titik” or dot. So, batik literally means, an activity in writing dots by using “Malam” or the Javanese traditional wax in a piece of fabric.

In Sumatera, the batik artisans use the same rules as the Javanese batik artisans.  They also use canting, brush, and stamp as the tools. The differences between Sumatran and Javanese batiks are only in the patterns and colors. However, the Sumatran batik is less popular compared with the Javanese one.

Why? Titiek Djoko Sumaryono from the Indonesian batik Foundation explained that the unpopularity of Sumatran batik is caused by the usage. Batik in Sumatera is rarely worn by the people unlike in Java, where a lot of people wear batik more often. Some people even wear batik every day in Java. Whereas, the spread of the Sumatran batik has occurred for centuries. That is why, some batik patterns in Sumatera are related to the ruling royal when batik pattern was born. 

Even though, the Sumatran batik is less popular compared with Javanese one, there are various types of batik with unique patterns from cities across Sumatera Island, starting from Aceh, Medan, Palembang, Padang, Riau, and Jambi.

Acehnese batik has been recognized since the 17th century. Aceh’s Door is the most well-known pattern in Acehnese Batik which usually uses bright colors such red, green, yellow, and pink. The Door pattern is described similarly with the Door of the Acehnese traditional house, especially in the low size. This pattern symbolizes the attitude of the Acehnese people who accept differences easily. 

Then, there is Jambi batik. Jambi batik is usually used in the form of loose-fitting robes, gloves, or scarves / shawls. Unlike the Javanese batik, it usually uses long pieces of fabric. Distinctive colors commonly found in Jambi batik are red, blue, black, and yellow. The pattern is generally taken from nature, such as plants, animals, and daily activities of the Jambi residents. Jambi famous batik patterns include Sanggat ship, pheasants, the broken durian, the “Ngeram” peacock ngeram, and Tampok mangosteen.

In Riau, there is Tabir batik. Tabir batik is made by using the system of writing and dabbing.  The colors are usually bright such as red, yellow, and green. The style and motifs include flowers star, sosou, chrysolite, and kenduduk. 

Batik Medan indeed has its own characteristics that are taken from each tribe located in North Sumatra. The batik pattern is adapted to the various ethnic Batak located in North Sumatra such as Mandailing, North Tapanuli, Simalungun, Karo, Dairi pakpak, as well as Central Tapanuli.

People start being interested in the Medan Batik made from Ulos fabric that can found in each district in North Sumatra, although it still seems too rigid because Ulos is commonly used for ritual events.

The only difference between Medan batik and batik originated from Java lies in the pattern. Javanese pattern generally uses floras, animals and so forth. Meanwhile, Medan batik patterns come from various ethnic groups that exist in North Sumatra. Take for example, Ulos pattern is taken from Ulos Batak fabric.

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