Ikat in Beja

To me Flores is Ikat and Ikat is Flores. The history and techniques of Ikat are explained here

Flores is famous for Ikat. This weaving tradition is an important part of Flores culture.The skills of weaving, making natural dyes and the knowledge about the intricate patterns are passed on from mother to daughter. Every district and village has its own colours and motives. These motives all have a meaning and are interwoven with local history and ceremonies. They are an important part of life.

There is no place on Flores where you don’t see Ikat, it is part of daily attire. The fabric is sewn into a tube shape which you can wear as a sarong, it keeps you warm at cold nights and it is a must at any ceremony.

Government employees change their dresscode once per week – on a fixed day – and all wear uniforms made out of Ikat in their districts’ pattern.

These pictures I took while visiting Beja, near Bajawa in 2013 together with Ivan Botha and Marius Saridin. These ladies work 2 weeks on one scarf, per day they spend approximately 2 hours on Ikat, besides their regular household activities and caring for their family. All colours are made from plants, roots, seeds and tree bark. In the village there are still three old men who are experienced wood carvers. The work on assignment to make carvings for the traditional ancestor houses. Antonius is one of them. He showed us their family house and his cousin Ivan translated explanations about carving patterns and traditional customs, about the items inside the house.

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