PARANG: A ROYAL PATTERN

by Dewi Cristina

One of our best-selling cushion covers is the Parang. There are a few variations of this pattern, but this one represents the Parang Rusak Barong, a kind of batik once prohibited for the ordinary people and reserved exclusively for the royal courts of Yogyakarta and Surakarta in Central Java.


It is a quite simple pattern, but its origin has a much more profound meaning, which is the reason why it was banned for the common people to use. Batik patterns are not just beautiful patterns (although they are!). Specific batik patterns deliver a profound non-verbal communication, especially stemming from cultures and religions. Traditionally, they showed the social status and area of origin of the person who wore it.


In the Parang pattern, the main motif is a representation of Garuda, the bird-like creature who served as the vehicle of Vishnu, the god responsible for preserving the cosmic order in the Hinduism. Garuda appears in many traditions and stories, especially in Java and Bali. In many stories Garuda symbolizes the virtue of knowledge, power, bravery, loyalty, and discipline. Balinese tradition venerated Garuda as 'the lord of all flying creatures', and  'the majestic king of birds'.

 

The important and noble position of Garuda in Indonesian tradition since ancient times, has venerated Garuda as the national symbol of the country.

The transformation of Garuda into the Parang pattern.

Vishnu and Lakshmi riding Garuda.


 The Parang pattern symbolizes human appetite towards the achievement of noble character and also symbolizes grandeur, not only with the depiction of Garuda, but in many other small motifs:

  1. Waves: symbolizing the never ending trials of life.
  2.  Diamonds: symbolizing the prize one can get in the circle of life with the proper wisdom and patience.
  3. Garuda's head: symbolizing intellect.
  4. Body: symbolizing physical strength, health.
  5. Wings: symbolizing the movement and activism needed by a strong leader.
  6. Beak of fire: symbolizing the mouth of the bird as fire, or the ability of the tongue of the leader to metaphorically burn many people.
  7. Hand or pointing device: symbolizing the power of a leader to determine the fate of others.

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