Materials & Techniques


Throughout Indonesia, the primary means of achieving patterns in textiles is by the tying and dyeing of warp or weft yarns or both before weaving begins. This process is known in English as ikat, from the stem of the Malay-Indonesian word mengikat, which means to tie or bind. Most of the ikat textiles from this area are cotton; when silk is used only the weft yarns are tied for the pattern. Prior to the weaving process, patterns and motifs are formed by binding the unwoven yarn. Unbound areas accept dyes, while bound areas do not. Yarn can be dyed many times to produce different or more intense colors. Depending on the complexity of the design, the process requires months of work.

Adapted from

  • Carol Robbins, "Variations on themes: Sumbawa and Bali," in Selections from the Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1984).

  • George Ellis, "Man's shoulder or hip cloth (hinggi)," in Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art, Reimar Schefold, ed. in collaboration with Steven G. Alpert (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle Publishing, 2016), 228.

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