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Textiles of a country reveal its culture woven in many different textures. And from these fabrics are sewn clothes that drape the body for social and religious functions. The patterns reflect a glimpse of history and faith. Functionality and celebration are the two key aspects that inspire the weaver.
On the isle of Bali, there are traditions of dyeing and weaving that date back hundreds of years.
A visit to the ancient village of Tenganan Pegeringsing is worthwhile, which is home to the famous Geringsing fabric. It is associated with Indra, the Hindu warrior god of the sky and rain. It is believed to be the most sacred of Balinese textiles.
Geringsing is a double ikat and the colours are white, rust, ochre and black. It is used in temples, during the first hair cutting of a minor, the tooth filing ceremony called metatah or potong gigi (coming of age) and at the time of death. It is believed to have originated from the Patola (Gujarat, India).
Geringsing is said to have healing properties. The manufacturing process is tedious. It takes more than three months from dyeing of yarn, weaving to the finished fabric. Natural dyes (Warna Alami) are extracted from bark, leaves and roots of trees; brown from the Mahogany, red from sappanwood, yellow from the jackfruit tree and indigo from the leaf of the Indigofera tinctoria.
The other weaving centres spread across the island produce a patterning technique called endek ikat of the weft. Each area – Karangasem, Klungkung, Gianyar, Buleleng, Negara and Denpasar produce variations of motifs that confound the first-time visitor.
Endek Songket was traditionally woven with silk yarn. In the past only Royalty and upper class Balinese (or well to do families) could afford this fabric. But as time moved on, the fabric became affordable, when weavers began using a variety of cotton and other yarns to make it available for all at a more reasonable price.
The three basic clothing worn by Balinese are Payas Agung, Adat Lengkap and Adat Madya.
Payas Agung is the complete attire of royalty. Gold tinted clothing with a stunning gold crown (for both men and women), necklace, ear rings, embroidered armbands, fabulous make-up (both men and women) with the man adorned with the traditional Keris. This is usually reserved for the most important functions like tooth filing ceremony, marriage and special religious duties.
Adat Lengkap is less ostentatious and is worn for visits to the temple and religious duties at home. The women adorn a kebaya, sarong and draped with a Balinese shawl called kamben. The men wear an udeng to cover their heads. It is made of about half a metre of batik fabric and is worn by young and old alike. This is accompanied by a white shirt, a kain (sarong) with a yellow selendang (sash) tied around the waist.
Adat Madya is the everyday Balinese traditional clothing. The women wear their sarongs and selendang, whilst the men an udeng and sarong. The kebaya and white shirt are dispensed with, respectively, and replaced with other coloured shirts or t-shirts. The Adat Madya is worn when attending a traditional meeting in a village or to offer daily prayers.
To visit these ancient weaving centres and see first-hand how the wide range of intricately woven fabrics are produced, you may join WakaLandCruise Tenganan trip.
For honeymoon couples and those staying at one of our hotels who would like to dress as royalty, Payas Agung, with prior appointment, we can arrange the traditional attire, make-up, fashion accessories and the photo-shoot. It would be a fabulous experience. For further details please contact us at email@example.com or call +62-361-484085