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Ikat Weaving Tour
 
 
Lesser Sunda islands which included the islands of Flores, Sumba, Timor, Lembata and Alor are the richest places to find various Ikat Weaving. It is the only place in Indonesia which locals still practice Ikat Weaving in its original cultural settings.

Throughout Flores, warp threads are dyed with indigo, red, and a distinctive yellow made from cudrania wood. All natural dyes are used and the threads are hand-woven. Each ikat piece is a labor of love from the women to their families. Motifs and patterns are handed down through the generations within their family, creating a timeless link between ancestors and those living now. Distinctive motifs found in Flores include lizards, serpents and intricate floral patterns.  

Whilst in Sumba traditionally ikat was only used for special ceremonies and only by members of the highest clans and their personal attendants. During important funerals the corpse was dressed in the finest textiles to make a good appearance in the afterlife, and piles of extra textiles was often sent with the dead as well. Later the Dutch started to export ikat to Europe and Java, where it quickly became very popular.

Ikat, or Ikkat, is a style of weaving  that uses a resist dyeing  process similar to tie-dye  on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design.  

Ikat means "to tie" or "to bind" in the Indonesian Language and has the same root as the words dekat ("close"), lekat ("to stick"), pikat ("to catch") etc. Through common usage, the word has come to describe both the process and the cloth itself
 
Dyes are traditionally hand made from local plants and minerals, and these give ikat its characteristic earthy brown, red, yellow and orange tones, as well as the blue of indigo. It can take months, even years, to complete the dyeing process using some natural substances.

Ikat weaving throughout Indonesia has social, economic, ceremonial and traditional significance. Although they are similar in form from one region to another, ikats vary tremendously in decorative technique, design format and motif. Designs represent animals, birds, and floral, geometric or ancestral figure motifs. Through this painstaking process, sophisticated textile art is produced with both drama and subtlety.

Places known for typical Ikat & Supplementary Weaving in Lesser Sunda islands:

Flores Island
  • Lewokluo: probably the only place where seashell still in use to enrich the design of Ikat. The fabric is basically in brownish color with white motives and the threads are in handspun cotton.
  • Kawaliwu: it has two typical Ikats in brownish and blue black color. The fabric is handspun cotton colored with natural dyes.
  • Tana Ai: the design is typical but seems to extinct due to the change of lifestyle.
  • Watublapi: known for the hand woven ikat made of handspun cotton with typical lizard design.
  • Sikka: ancient horse design on hand woven ikat fabric is common here. 
  • Nggela: it belongs to Lio ethnic once known for Mure Ikat, which the fabric is decorated with beads. Nowadays the village produces typical Lio Ikat design.
  • Jopu: just next to Nggela and produces similar Ikat design
  • Ende: ikats are produced with tinny white rather abstract design
  • Raja / Nagekeo: once known for Hoba Nage a brownish red man clothe in blanket shape. The color derived from natural dyes from root and bark of the trees. Nowadays the original Hoba Nage seems extinct and replaced by hand woven Hoba colored with chemical dyes.
  • Langa and Bena / Ngadha: used to produce Lawo Butu � a tubular women sarong in ikat design decorated with beads. Lawo Butu seems extinct too. The recent Ikats are produced in imitation to design of Lawo Butu without beads and colors are made from chemical dyes.
  • Riung: the area known for producing supplementary weaving technic. Adding colored threads while weaving produces the designs.
Solor: the island has its typical Ikat Design
Lembata: the island offers a rich collection of Ikats on its original material and process. Threads are handspun and colors produced from plants.   The area worth visit on the island is Ile Ape, Lamagute and Jontona.

Sumba
  • Prailiu: the closet village to the town of Waingapu in Eastern Sumba. The village is producing typical market driven Ikat production. One may find almost any Ikat design on the island in Prailiu.
  • Kawangu: Sumba Ikat also found here in the village with traditional Sumba houses and carved stone tombs.
  • Prainatang: the area has its own typical Ikat Weaving. Normally it combines Ikat and Supplementary technic on the same product.
  • Pau: Well known for the Lau Pahikung (the textile design comes from the woven of the threads with different colors). 
  • Rende: the village has its own typical Ikat design. It is one of the best Sumba Ikat.
  • Kaliuda: It is the only place in Sumba where Ikat designs are very much different with others. Horse and birds figures are common.
  • Kodi: The only place in western Sumba where Ikat Weaving is produced
Timor
  • Baun: typical Amarasi Ikat design
  • Niki Niki: The central Timor Ikat design mostly in geometric pattern.
  • Oelolok: The place known for the Buna, Sotis and Lotis hand-woven textile fabric in geometric pattern. The combination of Ikat and Supplementary weaving technique is common.
  • Kamanasa: South of Central Timor where Ikat Weaving is a common product.
Alor
  • Alor Kecil: West of town of Kalabahi where Alor Ikat is produced.
  • Uma Pura: tiny island next to Alor Kecil. The main activity of women here produces hand-woven Ikat. Elephant design is common.
  • Pulau Buaya: the women on the island produce similar Ikat Weaving of Uma Pura. Dyed threads are on display almost everywhere, especially during dry season.
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