History of Batik Cirebon
In History, batik Cirebon pattern modes can’t be separated from collaboration of religions, arts, cultures brought by various ethnics and nations in the past. Before 20th century, Cirebon, which had sea harbor, became a city which was trading various products coming from many islands, visited by many traders from ethnics including entrepreneurs from China and Middle East.
This ethnics and cultures gathering, which was caused by trading, has given influencing access to Cirebon arts and cultures motives. These culture influences can be seen from the greatness carts located at both palaces in Cirebon, which are “Singa Barong” cart at Kesepuhan Palace and “Peksi Naga Liman” Cart at Kanoman Palace. The shapes of imagination animals like “Singa Barong” and “Peksi Naga Liman” are reflected in Batik Trusmi pattern modes.
Batik Palace pattern modes divided into 2 types. First, the type that usually used by “punggawa” or “abdi dalam” (internal palace servant). Batik for “punggawa” has big and strong pattern modes. The colors of original Cirebon batik usually comprise of sogan, black, dark blue, and yellow. Culture and religion influences to Batik Cirebon pattern modes are also symbolized at plate batik and “selampad” plate batik. Pattern modes at those batiks are inspired by China porcelain plate arrangement used for wall decoration at Astana Gunung Jati Palace. There “China style” pattern modes are accumulation of the tastes of China descendant traders. Batik from those china descendant traders generally has red, blue, green and white colors and become the trade mark of coastal area batik.
Pattern modes are also adopted from symbol related to history myths such Earth Centrum pattern showing a hole on top of Jati Mountain where Islamic scholars having meeting and discussion. “Ayam Alas Gunung” pattern symbolize Islamic teaching and spreading from Jati Mountain. Also “Taman Arum Sunyaragi” batik symbolize a beautiful, fragrance park where Kings meditate to close themselves to God. One of the culture and religion, influences can be felt significantly through mystic such as “Kapal Keruk” batik. This Batik, as per the mystic belief, is very useful to be used during seeking knowledge. On the other hand, “Kapal Kandas” batik is useful to be used by adult and mature people who are tough in facing diffculties in life and in reaching their goals.