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5 Enchanting Traditional Textiles from Bali

 

Everyone knows that Bali is renowned for its exotic beaches. But did you also know the island is famous for its gorgeous traditional textiles? If you've ever traveled to Bali, chances are, you have probably spotted these stunning textiles on your travels. Now, these fabrics are growing more popular as international fashion scenes highlight the island's stunning masterpieces.

For you to get a closer look at why they are loved and cherished by many, here is your guide to 5 Bali's beautiful handwoven textiles!

1 | Endek

The making of Balinese traditional cloth, Endek

Sight your eyes to Christian Dior's Spring/Summer 2021’s main attraction, Endek. As part of their fashion runway, they highlight Endek for a number of their collections at Paris Fashion Week. It's no wonder they chose such excellent fabric for the prestigious fashion collection; Endek is 'naturally' stunning! This is because they use natural dyes to color the textile while also using traditional tools and methods. It can be quite time-consuming to create such a masterpiece. A simple patterned Endek design can take 2 weeks to finish, while a complex pattern can take up to 1 month to complete! This sacred cloth is often required in many Balinese ceremonies, such as weddings.

You can get your hands on this intricate textile with a visit to Sidemen village in Karangasem, one of Bali's hand-weaving villages. Klungkung is also a popular spot for you to buy it.
 

2 | Gringsing

a traditional tool weaving Balinese cloth Gringsing

If you want a unique Balinese textile, then Gringsing should be added to your collection! It's made with double ikat technique or double knot that is uncommon in other Indonesian handwoven fabrics. This masterpiece goes through 3 stages of coloring, which can frequently take more than a year to finish! Natural ingredients, such as candlenut, are also used to add its vibrant colors.

Because of its intricate designs and complicated method, Gringsing textile can take up to 2.5 years to complete! But, don't worry, you don't have to wait that long to get your hands on this stunning textile. You can simply visit Tenganan Village in eastern Bali. You can directly meet the locals specialized in these Gringsing creations while seeing the process up-close!
 

3 | Rangrang

colorful traditional tenun rangrang textile from Bali

Rangrang textile's colorful designs and pop of color will surely bring you joy! This is because the motif is different from those in other parts of Bali, showcasing a design inspired by mountainous and hilly areas of the island. The vibrant colors also come from natural herbs found on the island. To produce such a great splash of color, locals use natural dyes from mango stem bark, indigo leaves and even wood. You can buy this beautiful fabric when you're traveling to Nusa Penida, as Rangrang originated from the area.
 

4 | Poleng

a Balinese textile Poleng tied to a Dvarapala statue

If you've ever seen Bali's beautiful traditional performance in Uluwatu Temple, you have probably glanced at one of the island's stunning fabric, Poleng. Kecak dancers use this textile as part of their dance costumes. The simple black and white plaid design represents two contradictory characteristics: rwa and bhineda. It also has gray color to balances the black and white colors. Besides being worn in certain Balinese performance ceremonies, Poleng is also often wrapped around particular objects such as big trees, and statues.
 

5 | Prada

penjor poles decorated with gold prada textile in Bali

If you want to add a luxurious touch while still presenting Balinese heritage and culture, then Balinese Prada is your type of fabric to get! This vibrant textile, popularly in colors of red and orange, has gold hues, adding a distinctive touch compared to other textiles you have seen. You will probably be amazed by its motifs, as it showcases natural designs of birds, butterflies or flower motifs.

It is also one of Bali's most intricate textiles since high skills and precision is needed to create such fine art. In the past, locals skilled enough to create Prada used real gold! Now, this textile often uses gold foil or gold paint to give it life and shine. You can see Balinese villagers use Prada as their fashion wardrobe in rituals or traditional processions. Besides, Prada is also used in temples.

Balinese textiles add their authentic touch and culture. These masterpieces are created and inspired by their surroundings, which includes their materials and design. The precision, skill and time used to create such fine art are priceless. Even one textile with the same design and color can be distinctive!

 

It is no wonder these textiles have been chosen for numerous fashion shows around the world. Their natural dyes create a subtle touch, while their motif designs create an authentic touch. You can't help but to stare at the beautiful creation! So if you're ever in Bali, be sure to buy these gorgeous textiles to bring home a part of the island's colorful vibrant. And don’t forget to always follow the CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability) health protocols on your travels, too!