Batik – The Megamendung from Cirebon

The greatest revelation of my trip to Indonesia was the discovery of Batik. I mean proper, serious elegant Batik; unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before. I had always slightly dismissed Batik as just too hippy and messy for my graphic aesthetic and suddenly I was looking at these fabrics that were just so mind-blowing and excellent I turned a 180 degrees on my opinion of it. In particular I was struck by the Megamendung motif. An ancient design which was brought to Indonesia in the 8th century BC by the Chinese which is still going very strong.

It reminded me suddenly of a piece of fabric my mother had hanging over her bedroom window in her Montauk summer-house. A white cotton ground with the most delicate clouds shifting across its surface. Nuances of Indigo blue; each shadow of the cloud gradually darkening and representing a layer of dye and wax resist slowly applied by a copper Tjanting Tool.

The word itself stems from the Javanese word amba meaning ‘to write’ and titik meaning ‘dot’ or ‘point’…. more soon.











About Ptolemy Mann

Ptolemy Mann is a textile artist, designer and architectural colour consultant
This entry was posted in Art, Colour, Design, Indonesia, Textiles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Batik – The Megamendung from Cirebon

  1. Melanie Muir says:

    Hi Ptolemy, waaay back in the mists of time Javanese Batik was my thesis as part of my Hons Degree at Glasgow School of Art. Just to let you know that very few people are aware of the stunning collection of antique batiks held tucked away in drawers at the V&A. Huge inspiration for when you get back, as these are extraordinary original pieces, not the repro stuff one sees so much of now. Hope that helps! Kind regards, Melanie

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