Tanahan is the ornamental pattern that forms the foundation of the Klowongan (outline) decoration; which is usually the main attraction of a piece of batik cloth.
Initially, the function of the Tanahan ornamental patterns was to cover the base of the batik cloth with wax before it was colored. Without Tanahan, batik artists worried that the background colors of their batik cloth will look uneven.
Tanahan is usually treated as a second-class ornamental variety. These patterns are usually 'hidden' behind the splendor of Klowongan (main design's outline); that dominates a piece of batik cloth.
Tanahan demands the highest skill in hand-drawn batik-making with canting. To make Tanahan background, batik artists use the canting (a pen-like tool used in making batik) in the smallest size, number 0.5.
All of Tanahan collection are dyed using 100% natural, chemical-free indigo. The darker the blue shade is the more number of dips required in the process. For the deep indigo blue shade may require up to 22 times to dip the cloth in the indigo dye.