The Batik of Bali provides another venue
of showing the artistic excellence of the Balinese people.
Their beautiful designs, inspired by religious mythologies
to everyday encounters, spread throughout the world. Originally
stimulated by Javanese motifs, dominated by wayang and other
mythological characters, contemporary batik artists have
also experienced artistic development that parallels that
of paintings. Modern batik artists express themselves through
various subjects, from objects of nature such as birds or
fish to daily activities such as cremation
(ngaben) procession or tourist attractions as well as
religious and mythological stories, accompanied by modern
The Ikat and Double Ikat are two amazing techniques that
the Balinese have perfected. A piece of Ikat cloth is woven
in such a way that the ink is 'tied' (which is what 'ikat'
literally translates to) in one of the two threads. A Double
Ikat recursively repeats this technique; both threads contain
ink. The ink will bleed to its neihboring area, and the
result is a piece of cloth with distinctive, subtle patterns.
The village of Tenganan is well known for its superb double
ikat work. A good piece of double ikat may take months to
complete, and it usually belongs to the family heirloom.
Certain patterns, such as the black and white, checkered,
double ikat are considered to have protective powers against
the evil spirits. Thus, they are used a lot to cover or
to dress statues that guard the entrance to a temple or
sacred masks like Barong.
A piece of ikat shirt or a batik wrap-around, each can
be had for as little as a few dollars, are must have. Local
garment shops will gladly supply you with these or any other
kinds of Balinese garments that might interest you.