Batik is a resist method of patterning cloth. The principle of all resist techniques is that a “resist” substance, such as wax or starch paste, is applied to the surface of the cloth to prevent the dye from penetrating to those areas when the fabric is placed in the dyebath. Therefore, when the waxed cloth is removed from the dyebath the areas that have been coated with wax retain their original colour, while the unwaxed areas take on a new hue.
Some theories suggest that batik originated in China between 474BC and 221BC and that the art then spread eastward to Japan. Today, batik is practised in many parts of the world, including India, Africa, South-East Asia and Europe. However, one island, Java, is at the heart of batik design. Javanese batiks have come to be regarded as among the most beautiful and sought-after pieces in the world.