Types of Batik Cloth

Kain panjang: this garment is typical for the former Royal Court regions of  Jogjakarta and Surakarta and  is worn on formal occasions (MacMillan-Arensberg:8;Van Roojen 1994:36). The measurements of a kain panjang (literally: ‘long cloth’) are often considered with a minimum height of 100 centimetres up to 112 centimetres. The length of a kain panjang is about 2,5 times the height (Veldhuisen1972:21).  The kain panjang should be worn around the lower part of the body. The cloth should be wrapped twice around the lower part of the body. In general only one type of pattern is used, which covers the entire cloth (Van Roojen 1994:36).

Sarong: sarong (literally: ‘tube’) has the same height as a kain panjang, but requires less fabric in length: approximately 2 metres. The sarong can be found everywhere in the Indonesian archipelago, as opposed to the kain panjang, which is typically Javanese. The design of a sarong consists of several parts. The main parts are the badan (literally: ‘body’), which is the largest part of the garment, and the kepala (literally: ‘head’) (Van Roojen 1994: 34-35). The main batik pattern is repeated on the badan (literally: ‘body’) (Veldhuisen 1972:22). This main pattern, however, is interrupted by the kepala: a broad band. The pattern seen most frequently for the kepala part consists of two rows of triangles pointing in opposite directions, also called tumpal (Van Roojen 1994:35). These triangles are often filled with floral motifs. Often, on both sides of the kepala one will often see two long rectangles (papan) (1994:35).

Iket: the iket is a traditional head garment; the standard measurements for this type of head garment are approximately 1 by 1 metre. One should diagonally fold the iket when one would wear it (Veldhuisen 1972:25). This garment has a white surface in the centre. The borders of this often diamond shaped surface are decorated on the inside with a cemukiran pattern: these are hook-shaped motifs (Jasper 1916:91; Van Roojen 1994:36).

Slendang: a slendang is a cloth that should be worn diagonally across the shoulder. The measurements of a common slendang are 60 centimetres wide and 2 metres long (Veldhuisen 1972:26). In the centre a diamond-shaped surface can be found with a decorated border (with a cemukiran or a tumpal motif) (Jasper 1916:105; Veldhuisen 1972:26).

Kemben: a kemben is a chest cloth that should be wrapped tightly around the upper part of the torso, so that the shoulders remain uncovered. The kemben has the same shape and measurements as that of a slendang (Van Roojen 1994:37).


Roojen van, Pepin, 1994, Batik Design. Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur: The Pepin Press.

Veldhuisen-Djajasoebrata, Alit, 1972, Batik op Java. Rotterdam: Museum voor Land- en Volkenkunde.

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