Batik Technique: Cap, Tjap, Chap, Chop, Stamped

Batik stamps or cap made of wood and copper

Copper and wooden cap

This week, let’s explore another popular method of creating batiks. Cap means stamped in the Malay / Indonesian tongue. Batik cap, compared to batik tulis is a relatively newer tradition.

The cap itself, like batik, is a beautiful work of art and have become collectors’ items. Earlier versions of the cap were made of local tropical wood, while later and current versions were typically made out of a copper alloy which is shaped into intricate patterns on its base. These stamps usually have a handle for the artist to grip the piece in position to stamp onto the cloth. Some of these cap are rather small and perhaps just about 1 to 2 inches in width and height! Larger pieces can be up to more than 11 inches wide or more. They normally contain a single motif such as a rose flower or the batik maker’s stamp.

Like batik tulis, batik cap undergoes the same process of dyeing, washing, drying and redyeing. The difference lies in that while batik tulis is hand drawn, the motifs on stamped batik, are created using the cap which is dipped into molten wax and then stamped onto the cloth. The advantage of batik cap is that it can be more time saving, while the motifs are repeated with great accuracy (as opposed to hand drawn pieces), and is often more economical (since it is more time saving, more batiks can be created).

While batik cap may not require the same level of skill and time as in tulis pieces, there are beautiful and excellent cap pieces. Thus the artistic excellence is still upheld. Often, a combination of cap and tulis is used on a batik piece. This is sometimes called batik kombinasi (or combination batik).

Coming up in our next article, we shall explore another unique and creative method of creating batik…stay tuned..

Working with stamped batik
Batik cap in a workshop

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