Ikat Weaving: A Textile Technique and Culture of the Indonesian People

Ikat proactively brightens up lives, homes, and businesses all over the world for many centuries now.The term ikat comes from the Indonesian verb ‘mengikat’, which means to bind or to tie off. This refers to the tie-dyeing method used to give textiles their unique vibrancy of design and color. Ikat has now come to refer to the textiles themselves as well as the process. It is a traditional ancient art of a technique with an extremely sophisticated weaving of Indonesia.


Ikat is a method of resist-dye technique, ultimately used to pattern textiles. A common method of resist-dyeing involves covering areas of fabric to shield specific parts from penetration of the dye. Then, bunches of several threads are grouped to be tied at once, creating knot units building an overall pattern. Resist ties are added or removed for each color. These beautiful combinations create marvelous designs. After dying is completed, all resists are opened and yarns of the patterns are woven. Silk and cotton fibers are the most commonly used, but all textile fibers are welcome.


Three main types of ikat consist of warp, weft, and double ikat. In warp ikat, the weft yarns are all dyed a solid color and only the warp yarns are ikat dyed. Here, the pattern is clearly visible when the threads are wound on the loom, and weaving in the weft threads solidifies the color and completes the fabric formation. In weft ikat, it is the weft threads that are ikat dyed. This type of weaving is more difficult than warp ikat, as the pattern will be formed only as the weaving progresses. This means that the weaver has to constantly center and readjust the yarns to ensure the pattern is formed correctly. Double ikat is a combination of both warp and weft-tied resist in a balanced weave. It’s only done in a few special weaving villages in east Bali. These spectacular unusual east Balinese double ikats are called geringsing cloths.They are considered protective cloths. Since early 1900’s, Geringsing has circulated worldwide in clothing, tourism, and art collections.


Asia has numerous cultural regions with strong traditions and origin of this method. Findings have shown Ikat has originated, since possibly the Bronze age. Then, it was introduced into European sources of history and textile technology early twentieth century when Dutch scholars discovered rich textile traditions of Wonderful Indonesia. Indonesia presents this historic ancient method while continuously bringing life to communities, textile, and now the lifestyle across the world. Cultures, people, and industries find meaning and longevity in these productions. Indonesian ikat designs come from the heart and soul through Indonesia’s villages of honored communities. Some villages use ideological and ceremonial connections to the practice of method when producing. Ikat fabrics from Indonesia are woven by hand on narrow looms in through a passionately intensive labor process. Plain weave ikat fabrics have unique resist patterns, so it flawlessly looks the same on both sides.


Producing elaborate and rich quality ikat involves an essential skill of spinning. Generating thread by a spindle is called benang putar. Indonesia influences and produces the highest quality ikat textiles known to mankind. Offering the greatest diversity of ikat weaving, continuously developing an unrivaled authentic variety of designs. Indonesia traditionally uses ikat technique in materials, clothing, accessories, home decor, furniture, and infinite assortment.