Apart from Batik, many regions in Indonesia have other traditional textiles, intricately crafted by villagers who are keeping this heritage alive. You can watch these locals produce vibrant hand-woven cloths and take the opportunity to interact with them.
Visit these 5 Indonesian villages and discover the traditional woven textiles that are a visual treat for the eyes:
1 | Tenganan Village in Bali
Tenganan Village in East Bali is well-known for its heirloom item called gringsing, a dyed, hand-woven textile that’s also known as double ikat. This village is one of the few places where Bali Aga, an indigenous tribe, still preserves its ancient craftsmanship. Producing a single gringsing is such an intricate process that it can take up to two and a half years! Some types of gringsing are believed to have mystical powers.
During the months of June and July, tourists can also watch the Perang Pandan war dance here. This dance, a coming-of-age ritual, features duels among male villagers. Those interested in visiting this stunning area can travel from Denpasar, which is just an hour's drive away from Tenganan. You can enter this enchanting village by making a donation at the ticket booth near the entrance gate.
2 | Sukarara Village in Lombok
Just 25 kilometers away from Mataram, Sukarara Village, located in Central Lombok, is one of the finest centers of hand-weaving in Indonesia. Visitors are warmly greeted by locals wearing vibrant traditional Sasak clothing, consisting of sapuk or crown, umbak or sling belt, and pegon or shirt. However, the most well-known form is songket, a sophisticatedly-patterned textile that is hand-woven by adding threads of gold and silver. Songket is usually crafted by the local women of Sukarara, using a traditional loom. Tourists can witness how these craftswomen precisely weave one thread with another or they can also try weaving some fabric themselves!
The custom wooden houses with grass-thatched rooms in Sukarara Village represent the fact that its traditions are still intact. It is definitely a gem of an attraction that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Lombok and it is only a 20-minute drive from Lombok International Airport.
3 | Sade Village in Lombok
Sade Village is another area in Central Lombok that’s known for its hand-woven heritage crafts. It is home to the indigenous Sasak people, who still hold on to their culture and traditions. The Sasak community believes that women must learn the art of hand-weaving as this determines whether they will get married or not.
Another unique spectacle is the ancient architecture reflected in the traditional houses called Bale Tani. Materials, which can be easily found in the area, like wood, bamboo, and clay mixed with buffalo dung, are used to create a warm interior inside these houses. Strangely enough, though, the houses are completely odorless.
Sade Village is easily accessible as well; it only takes about 15 minutes from Lombok International Airport to reach this area.
4 | Prailiu Village in Sumba
Sumba’s hand-woven textiles are recognized all over the world. One particular village that produces some stunning fabric is Prailiu, situated west of Sumba. This village specializes in warp ikat, a traditional hand-woven textile with bright patterns made out of blue, red, purple, and white threads. The intricate 10-step procedure of creating warp ikat is an heirloom that has been passed down for generations!
Tourists seeking authenticity will also admire Uma Hori or Uma Mbatang, Prailiu’s traditional houses with a tower-like, grass-thatched roof. Visitors can also see the majestic megalithic burial stone called Reti. Just a 10-minute drive from Waingapu city, Prailiu is truly an ideal spot to absorb the wonders of Sumba.
5 | Watublapi Village in Flores
Overlooking the mountain slopes and valleys, Watublapi is a hillside village in the island of Flores. It is famous for its colorful ikat, a hand-woven textile, which showcases a skill that’s been handed down from generation to generation. The process of hand-weaving is oftentimes accompanied by mythical performances and ceremonies, creating a magical experience for the visitors.
Tourists are greeted with an enchanting dance and music performance by the people of Bliran Sina. This one-of-a-kind indigenous performance lingers in the memory forever. Those interested in exploring the village will have to travel a distance of 15 km from Maumere City.
Traditional Indonesian textiles are beyond fashionable; they carry the heritage, tales, and love of the communities that hand-weave them. The bucolic landscape of these villages, together with their ancient hand-weaving traditions, offers an idyllic escape from the city life. So, are you ready to plan your next adventure and collect all the wonderful handmade Indonesian textiles?
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