As Malaysians, I’ve seen us get extra protective over our food when people in other countries claim it’s not from Malaysia. I can only imagine the initial reactions Indonesian had when China Xinhua News claimed that batik is a traditional Chinese craft.
The clip described batik as a traditional craft practiced by ethnic minorities in the provinces of Guizhou and Yunan in southwestern China. However, there are plenty of sources that say otherwise.
While the art form was practised in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618), it is more likely that the craft spread from Asia to the islands of the Malay Archipelago first. These were also silk batiks that have been discovered in Nara, Japan during the Nara period (AD 710-794).
While I do understand that wax printing existed in China as early as during the late Qin (BC 221-207) or early Han Dynasty (BC 206 – CD 220), Indonesia, most particularly the island of Java, is the area where batik has reached its greatest peak. The art form also originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot.
Now that we know a little bit about batik’s history, here’s how some Indonesian netizens responded to the claims made by China Xinhua News:
There are also some Malaysians who have been commenting on Twitter regarding the feud:
However, there are also quite a few who are saying that Indonesia might not technically have full ownership to the art form:
What do you think? Is China correct to claim that the art form came from them, or is it truly an Indonesian original?