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Ikat weaving of Sumba
 
Ikat weaving throughout Sumba has social, religious and traditions of significance. Without expectation, is always as female task. The word �Ikat� itself means knotting or binding. The pattern that is required on the cloth is knotted and bound into the wrap yarn and the thread is dyed before weaving.

With the development of modernization machine-spun cotton can now be bought and also prepared dyes. Now the otherwise very long time to weave an Ikat has been cut down quite a lot. After a description of the traditional method of making Ikat, hopefully the reader may appreciate more fully why Sumbanese Ikat has been possessions of wealthy and respected by all members of the community. The cotton must be grown and harvested by hand and since the dyes come from nature, the women have to wait for nature to provide the colors. This means, she may have to wait for one week in the year for a berry to come out that has the color she wants.

A rough yearly plan goes like this. The cotton is harvested in July, Spun between July and October. The wrap is set up and patterns bound on the thread between September and December. After the rain in April/May, the dyeing is done with Indigo and Kombu (a rust color from the bark of the tree). However, Indigo can be available in January/February. In the month of August the weaving begins and may take a few months to complete.

In Sumbanese weave there are more Wraps per cm than Wefts. The wrap is the thread running lengthwise and the weft is thread running crosswise. By doing this the wrap thread can be seen and it is this wrap thread that carries the motifs and decorations.
 
Uses of Ikat

A fine Ikat fabric will be used or wrapped around the corpse. People who come to pay their visit of condolence have to bring this kind of cloth too as a gift of respect. It�s also used as a dowry given by the bride family to the groom.
As traditional dress, the cloths used by man are large and rectangular. It consists of three pieces. One is used as a shoulder cloth and the others to wrap around the hip and the head. They also used this cloth as attractive wall decoration, door curtain, etc. In some traditional villages you can see women woven this beautiful work of art with primitive loom.

During the process of making an Ikat textile, it is strictly taboo for men to see or be close to the dye bath; older woman will build or find an isolated spot and prepared the dye in secret.

Each district in this regency has its own distinctive design and shade. All reflected the life, culture and history of the island. It�s not a merely cloth but has a deeply meaning in their social and ceremonial when someone died.
 
 
 
 
 

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