Bali Textiles

Flores Textile

Bali, Land of Dreaming


Indonesia stretches for more than 5000 miles, and consists of more than 17,500 islands. There are five main islands and 30 smaller islands. It is the most volcanic country on the earth. Called the Ring of fire, Indonesia straddles the equator, and it’s many islands have a rainy and a dry season. The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Papua, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan. It is the fourth most populous country in the world, and has over 583 different languages and dialects. Each culture has its own language and traditional art forms, embedded in textiles, food, dances, objects, and ritualistic practices.

The unusual and unique textiles of each of the islands, reveals a distinct difference  in language, symbols, beliefs, and motifs. These differences can be seen in the textiles from Bali, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Kalimantan, Suvu, Sulawesi, and Jawa.  When you study these different textiles, you can begin to see the differences in what identifies each island. Many of these ancient textile techniques are being lost. As an example, a textile  in Bali called RangRang,  or split tapestry weaving, is very rare today. The RangRang or split tapestry weaving is where the weft is split, or not continuous, thereby producing different designs. In the case of RangRang, it is a diamond shape.

On the island of Timor, some of the  richest  textile traditions still exist today. Textiles are woven for ceremonial events, and rites of passage. Textiles produced are created from dyes that are made from roots and recipes that are ancient, and passed down from generation to generation. The patterns embedded in the cloth are the symbols and motifs of the Timor people, and are distinctly recognizable as the cultural identifiers of the Timor region. Each island has its own mythical and symbolic icons  embedded in the cloth. This is what makes this study of textiles with in the Indonesian archipelago so fascinating.



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