Batik Industry In Sri Lanka Became A Successful Handicraft Within A Century!


In Sri Lanka, batik has a long history that dates to the time of the kings. Artisans produced stunning abstract, natural, and everyday motifs using various approaches in brilliant hues. Midway through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the batik industry in Sri Lanka saw a resurgence. During this time, it expanded and significantly increased the country’s exports.

Batik industry in Sri Lanka

What is batik?

Artisans apply hot wax on the fabric before dying in the handmade process known as batik. They color the fabric and then boil off the wax when it dries. They perform this technique numerous times to produce a design with multiple colors. People can explore their original designs in the local batik sector. There are, however, a few significant batik producers as well. It is not easy to dye clothing with a batik hue. It requires a lot of effort and patience. However, this depends on the design the designer will create. Although the sector was previously only a home and cottage industry, Sri Lankans now have the opportunity to learn batik technology.

Batik industry in Sri Lanka

History of the batik industry of the globe

Is batik from Sri Lanka?

According to historians, the ancient art of batik design started in Egypt. They believe that the inhabitants of the Nile Valley Civilization tried to create patterns on cloth using wax. It shows in history that the Persians and Egyptians introduced the technology of gruel and wax drops to the world. According to that, it is said that the Persians were engaged in batik designs even about 2000 years ago.

Java batik, which is finished with images of flowers, fruits, fish, butterflies, birds, etc., has won the attraction of rich people worldwide. Even today, the Javanese islanders who developed batik art call it “Thikrik” and “Taritik.” Its meaning is fabric painted with dots. Batik art is prominent in the culture of Java Islanders and Indonesians.

When did the batik industry come to Sri Lanka?

Beginning in the early 19th century, the Dutch brought the batik business from Indonesia to Sri Lanka. It is said in the Hela genealogy that 400 years ago, kings Sri Wickrama Rajasingha and Rajadhirajasingha first used this art of batik for their royal clothes. Since it was a primitive level of art at that time, colors were made using the bark and essence of trees.

In the 1950s and 1960s, batik art was introduced to Sri Lanka through the intervention of a woman named Soma Udaba. In the early stages, it was at an experimental level. Sri Lankan batik art, which took a new look after 1970, is famous worldwide because of the tourism industry.

Sri Lankan process of batik creation

How is Sri Lankan batik made?

According to the design, artisans dye the cloth in different colors and then melt the wax in boiling water. They carry out the drying process each time they apply the dye to ensure that they set the color properly. Of course, experienced artisans do the whole process with great labor contribution. That is why the more colors a piece of fabric has, the more time it takes to make it. When the wax dries in the decorative patterns created by the wax, artisans dip the fabric in the dye, and once the water-impermeable wax is removed, the colors of the dye remain. The result is a mosaic of vibrant color patterns and cracks.

process of batik creation

Batik handicrafts exports Sri Lankan culture to the world

Tourists value these batik works, and locals profit significantly from doing business with them.

Where is batik famous in Sri Lanka?

Tourists can find batik in tourist areas, markets, or souvenir shops. In the coastal town of Hikkaduwa in the Galle District, tourists may find rows of little batik kiosks on both sides of the road. Many foreign tourists visit the Hikkaduwa beach shop for various batik fabrics. They wear batik clothing throughout their holiday season.

Most of the time, foreigners buy these batik products in Sri Lanka as a souvenir of their visit to this culturally rich island. Currently, batik following Sri Lankan batik products are very popular and have a higher export market value.

  • Batik sarees 
  • Batik kids wear
  • Batik sarongs
  • Batik shirts
  • Batik shorts
  • Batik handkerchiefs
  • Batik tablecloths

Batik dress

Batik exports from Sri Lanka in the modern world!

Batik designs come in an infinite number. Of course, batik designs typically cost a lot yet are still within reach. Batik designs are available in small local shops, art galleries, and even big-box stores. Batik manufacturers in Sri Lanka use their creativity to create distinctive designs by dyeing the clothing. You can most frequently find Sri Lankan traditional-themed batik patterns easily throughout tourist hotspots. But there are batik stores in Sri Lanka that you may visit in person or get personalized designs online. 


Batik has become very popular among Sri Lankan handicrafts in the modern era. Every local and tourist is attracted to batik clothes. They bring out a unique fashion tradition that anyone can try out. When the Dutch arrived in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 19th century, they brought the batik business, which originated in Indonesia. Since then, it has developed into a textile style unique to the country. The batik industry in Sri Lanka is now flourishing. Batik exporters Sri Lanka create a great deal of marking Sri Lankan batik trademarks worldwide.


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