Sumba Ikat Weaving is one of cultural wealth owned by Nusa Tenggara Timur Province of Indonesia. Ikat weaving is an exotic fabric created by weaving artists from East Sumba. It is not a cloth that can be created by just anyone because it needs a complex and lengthy process to produce a large piece of ikat woven fabric and the whole process of collecting materials and making ikat weaving are done manually. Weaving artist usually work on a piece of woven fabric for 2 to 3 month and can be 5 months if the size is large. It is a long process because they have to look for raw materials and coloring materials in the forest. All Sumba ikat fabrics are made entirely from plants, including the coloring too. Every piece of Sumba woven cloth that is ready to use has passed 42 stages of work process and can not be done alone.
One piece of ikat is usually done by 3 to 10 people. Some are looking for materials, spinning yarn, coloring threads, weaving and making the theme or motifs. A piece of weaving fabric is made through 42 processes, starting from the lamihi process (the process of separating seeds from cotton) to the process of wari rumata (finishing process). Sumba ikat weaving is very beautiful and very eco friendly as well because it is entirely made of cotton and colored with natural dyes from plants. There is no chemical used in the process of making this weaving at all. Various natural ingredients, such as indigo plants and noni roots, are used as coloring Sumba ikat fabrics.
Unlike fabrics in general, each sheet of ikat born from the hands of the artists has their own story and uniqueness. Like paintings, each strand of ikat weaving illustrates the creativity, imagination and mood of the weaver. Sumba ikat fabric itself is usually decorated by various motifs inspired by flora and fauna. Each motif certainly has its own story. The motif of a human-headed lion symbolizes power, floral motifs symbolize human social life and the motif of snakes symbolizes the life after death.
Have a closer look to the Ikat Weaving industry with our tailor-made tour.