SENI BATIK TERAP
Terengganu is well known for it's hidden gems and secrets. Her land is rich with natural greenscapes, tiny islands with exotic underwater life and her people, are artists of many crafts, a rich culture indeed. One of the many famous traditional arts in textile form is the Handblocked Batik or Batik Terap which started in the 1920's in Malaya. Batik Terap uses a Brass or Copper Block or Sarang in Malay which is dipped in hot wax from a heated pan. The Batik Artisan makes his art by handblocking a series or a layout of waxed batik motifs onto a cloth which is laid flat on a Batik Terap Table. The structure of the table is usually made from wood, has specific measuring requirements and needs to be prepared well before a handblocking process takes place. A wide, wet sponge is inserted into the table, flushed and covered with a thin layer of plastic. This ensures that once hot wax is applied onto the cloth, it immediately hardens or cools down the wax - making it an clean and clear stamp. Once handblocking process is completed, the batik is dyed by hand and goes through colour fixing and boiling process.
The art of Batik Terap is originated from Indonesia. In the early days, the Malaysian Government sent a few Local Terengganu batik artisans to learn the art of batikmaking and block making. Our people learnt how to block from wood, copper and brass and many intricate techniques and designing batik motifs were also taught by different Batik Artisans from different states like Solo and Jogjakarta. It is believed that some of our olden batiks resembled the Indonesian Motifs because of the interchange between our country and Indonesia. However, as years passed by, our local batiks gained it's own significant batik motifs and batikmaking techniques.
The famous 'Batik Sarong of Terengganu' which uses
the Batik Terap method is still made by hand till today by Terengganu Batik Artisans, which can be found in local markets and in certain Batik Craftsmen houses.
However, the art is close to extinction. Like many age-old traditional art from around the world, The Batik Terap is a dying art which needs more awareness and recognition. Highly-skilled craftsmen have become an endangered species because the younger generation do not want to revive the art because other career options in cities and other states are more promising. Those who remain, are often small or without strong financial support. Modern textile printing has also brought many batik craftsmen to their knees because it was cheaper, faster and cost-effective for mass production.
We are deeply concern with the art and it is our mission to keep the art alive in many more years to come. There is still hope because in the modern era that we live in, we are able to use technology and provide better environments with the right mind and open heart. We visualize an art form that teaches patience, strength and innovation. How Batik Terap will survive in the modern world depends on our initiative and effort in promoting the knowledge of the art to local Malaysians and the entire world.