The Batik Cloth Portraying two Women Carrying Bundles is a fine example of a Mozambique batik painting, which are made to portray traditional scenes of village life. While this batik portrays two women in long skirts and carrying bundles, others may show scenes of musicians, soldiers, or women with children. The signature “YAL” appears at the bottom of the batik, which helps to establish this batik artist’s reputation, and also indicates that this piece was likely made for the tourist trade.
While batik cloth first appeared in Asia in the early 16th century, this technique made its way to Africa by sea and through trans-Saharan trade routes, where it was embraced by many different cultures. Wax batiks like the Batik Cloth Portraying two Women Carrying Bundles are created by using a canting tool, an implement that holds hot wax, keeps it from cooling, and allows the artist to draw with the wax much like drawing with an ink pen. The wax is applied as a resist to block areas of the cloth where dye is not desired, and then the cloth is dipped into the dye. This process is repeated for each color until the image is complete. Then, the fabric is bent to crack the wax on the surface and the fabric is dipped in indigo dye to create the crackled appearance of batik. The final step is to boil the fabric in water to remove the wax, which leaves the finished piece. Researched by Haiden Keener
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu