The Australian Museum holds a collection of about 300 Indonesian textiles. About 180 are ikat and 40 batik. Most were acquired in the late 20th century, but some can be dated to the late 19th century. Many textiles reflect the traditional methods of production, design and use. A small selection is presented here.


Ikat – the word, borrowed from the Indonesian language, describes the method of weaving that uses dyed threads to produce coloured patterns, as well as the type of fabric made in this process.

Batik – the word is of Javanese and Indonesian origin and describes the coloured fabric and process of producing patterns by using fabric dyes and wax in the creation of the design. Multi-coloured batik allows for the production of complex patterns, akin to paintings.