The batik stamp was invented by the Javanese in the 20th century as a way of mass producing batik fabric by creating a repeating block print design.
The stamps are created by bending thin strips of copper into intricate patterns. These stamps are known as tjaps, caps or chops. There are also wooden stamps as well, although they do not seem to make as nice and crisp of a design as their copper counterparts.
These come in an array of designs that most often include floral motifs and intricate patterns that can be used to create a repeating image. They also sometimes come as a mirror image set that is used to stamp both sides of the fabric or to create mirrored images on the fabrics.
Copper stamps are become increasingly difficult to find as the art of batik becomes more popular. Sadly another reason why they are becoming rare is because of the the value of the copper as scrap metal. Scrappers, unaware of exactly what the stamps are and their value to artists, will sell them for cash so they can be melted down. However, there are purveyors of arts and crafts supplies who are actively seeking them out in order to preserve them and make sure they end up in the hands of those who truly appreciate them.
Although, the stamps enable the producer to create batik fabric more quickly and efficiently, using them is an art in itself. It starts by using wax that is melted to just the right temperature. This wax is held in a special flat bottomed tray called a layang that has a piece of cloth at the bottom to help ensure the even distribution of the wax onto the stamp. The stamp is then carefully applied to the fabric in a quick fluid motion to ensure the fabric does not receive too much or too little wax. It can be a bit of a balancing act to get the right mix of wax temperature, proper amount of wax, proper pressure and fluid motion to create a crisp, clear design. However, once you have mastered the stamping process it is an excellent skill to add to your batik art repertoire.