Khadi is a hand-spun and hand-woven fabric from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan mainly made out of cotton. This is an artisanal heritage handloom textile,made entirely in hand crafted processes—from spinning the threads on a charkha (spinning wheel) to weaving on handloom.
The cloth is usually woven from cotton and may also include silk, or wool. Khadi is sometimes treated with starch to give it a stiffer texture.
Bengal weavers have been practicing this craft of weaving very fine count Khadi yarn of hand-spun cotton and silk for centuries. Mahatma Gandhi was a strong proponent of handicrafts, in particular the handloom Khadi. The technique and associated ideology was promoted by Gandhi to inspire self-reliance of the people, and support ancient skills and traditional crafts.
Similar to many other regions, handmade socks make a significant part of material culture in Turkey. Besides being functional and decorative garments, in Turkey handmade socks have gained the role of communication through their designs. The motifs that are applied on socks usually have meanings and used for certain purposes. These meanings may have spiritual purposes, such as for wishing a healthy life or protection from the evil eye, as well as functional purposes, such as for indicating the officer on the town or for conveying a message, such as acceptance of a marriage proposal.
Barkcloth is a versatile material that was once common in Asia, Africa, Indonesia, and the Pacific. Barkcloth comes primarily from trees of the Moraceae family, including Broussonetia papyrifera, Artocarpus altilis, and Ficus natalensis. It is made by beating sodden strips of the fibrous inner bark of these trees into sheets, which are then finished into a variety of items. Many texts that mention “paper” clothing are actually referring to barkcloth.
The Barkcloth has been manufactured in Uganda for centuries and is Uganda’s sole representative on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Tapa cloth was used traditionally used for clothing throughout the Pacific, and in many places remains important culturally. Some communities are reviving this practice. At Monbang traditional village on Alor Island, Indonesia, tourists can see members of the Kabola ethnic group wear barkcloth and dance traditional dances.
The traditional Li textile techniques by women of the Li ethnic group on the island of Hainan, China, were recognized by Unesco in 2009 as in Need of Urgent Safeguarding on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering are employed to make cotton, hemp and other fibres into clothing and other daily necessities. The techniques involved, including warp ikat, double-face embroidery, and single-face jacquard weaving, are passed down from mothers to daughters from early childhood through verbal instruction and personal demonstration. Li women design the textile patterns using only their imagination and knowledge of traditional styles. In the absence of a written language, these patterns record the history and legends of Li culture as well as aspects of worship, taboos, beliefs, traditions and folkways. The patterns also distinguish the five major spoken dialects of Hainan Island.
Noken is a multifunctional knotted or woven bag native to the Papua. Its made of made of woven tree bark or orchid plant stems. Its distinctive usage, which involves being hung from the head, is traditionally used to carry various goods, and also children. In 2012, noken was listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists as a cultural heritage of Indonesia. Women carrying noken are still a common sight in Wamena.
In a number of remote villages in easternmost province of Papua, noken – instead of the usual ballot box – is preferred as a way to place ballots, where it is recognized as a ballot tool in the Papua regional leadership elections.
Quilting is the process of sewing two or more layers of fabric together to make a thicker padded material, usually to create a quilt or quilted garment. Typically, quilting is done with three layers: the top fabric or quilt top, batting or insulating material and backing material, but many different styles are adopted.
The process of quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material to make a quilt. The quilter’s hand or sewing machine passes the needle and thread through all layers and then brings the needle back up. The process is repeated across the entire area where quilting is wanted. Rocking, straight or running stitches are commonly used with these stitches being purely functional or decorative. Quilting is done to create bed spreads, art quilt wall hangings, clothing, and a variety of textile products. Quilting can make a project thick, or with dense quilting, can raise one area so that another stands out.
Rafoogari is an art of darning in India and neighbouring countries of the subcontinent where this art of healing the cloth is used for emotional and historical reasons too. Though is a social shame associated with wearing restored clothes but this art has been used by highly skilled “rafoogars” to restore some priceless clothes such as Pashmina shawl, silks, woolen clothes and even fine cotton, etc. Kashmiris are considered the best rafoogars, who have imparted their knowledge to the artists all over India. Rafoogars still exist across India.
Darning is a sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in fabric or knitting using needle and thread alone. It is often done by hand, but it is also possible to darn with a sewing machine. Hand darning employs the darning stitch, a simple running stitch in which the thread is “woven” in rows along the grain of the fabric, with the stitcher reversing direction at the end of each row, and then filling in the framework thus created, as if weaving. Darning is a traditional method for repairing fabric damage or holes that do not run along a seam, and where patching is impractical or would create discomfort for the wearer, such as on the heel of a sock.
Jamdani is a type of very fine woven muslin fabric. The art of Jamdani weaving has been practised in the Bengal region—nowadays Bangladesh and East India—since centuries. The characteristic designs are made in a supplementary weft technique of weaving. The traditional art of Jamdani weaving was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013.
The name, Jamdani, is of Persian origin and comes from the word jam meaning flower and dani meaning vase, descriptive of the floral motifs. The weaving is time-consuming and labor-intensive because of the richness of its motifs, which are created directly on the hand loom using the discontinuous weft technique.
Zardozi is an intricate embroidery technique made with metallic threads and embellishments. Initially it was made with real silver and gold, today also gold- and silver plated copper thread is used. It is practised in Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Central Asia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Lucknow Zardozi has a Geographical Indication since 2013.
Soumak is a tapestry technique of weaving strong and decorative textiles used as rugs and domestic bags. Soumak is a type of flat weave, somewhat resembling but stronger and thicker than kilim, with a smooth front face and a ragged back, where kilim is smooth on both sides. Soumak lacks the slits characteristic of kilim, as it is usually woven with supplementary weft threads as continuous supports.
The technique involves wrapping coloured weft threads over and under the warp threads, adding strength and embroidery-like pattern.
Soumak is also spelled Soumakh, Sumak, Sumac, or Soumac.
Suzani is a type of embroidered and decorative tribal textile made in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries.
Suzani is from the Persian سوزن, Suzan, which means needle. The art of making such textiles in Iran is called سوزندوزی Suzandozi (needlework).
Suzanis usually have a cotton (sometimes silk) fabric base, which is embroidered in silk or cotton thread. Chain, satin, and buttonhole stitches are the primary stitches used. There is also extensive use of couching, in which decorative thread laid on the fabric as a raised line is stitched in place with a second thread. Suzanis are often made in two or more pieces, that are then stitched together.
Popular design motifs include sun and moon disks, flowers (especially tulips, carnations, and irises), leaves and vines, fruits (especially pomegranates), and occasional fish and birds.
Major types of Suzani embroidery
Khodjent Suzani (Khodjent, Tajikistan)
Nurata Suzani, made in the town of Nurata in Uzbekistan.
Ikat fabric is a dyeing technique used to create a distinct style of textile patterns. Ikat is done by resist dyeing sections of the yarns prior to weaving the fabric.
In ikat the resist is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The yarns are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered to create a new pattern and the yarns dyed again with another colour. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth. In other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik the resist is applied to the woven cloth, whereas in ikat the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into cloth. Because the surface design is created in the yarns rather than on the finished cloth, in ikat both fabric faces are patterned.
A characteristic of ikat textiles is an apparent “blurriness” to the design. The blurriness is a result of the extreme difficulty the weaver has lining up the dyed yarns so that the pattern comes out perfectly in the finished cloth. The blurriness can be reduced by using finer yarns or by the skill of the craftsperson. Ikats with little blurriness, multiple colours and complicated patterns are more difficult to create and therefore often more expensive. However, the blurriness that is so characteristic of ikat is often prized by textile collectors.
Katazome (型染め) is a Japanese method of dyeing fabrics using a resist paste applied through a stencil. With this kind of resist dyeing, a rice flour mixture is applied using a brush or a tool such as a palette knife. Pigment is added by hand-painting, immersion or both. Where the paste mixture covers and permeates the cloth, dye applied later will not penetrate.
Katazome on thin fabrics shows a pattern through to the back; on thicker or more tightly woven fabrics, the reverse side is a solid color, usually indigo blue for cotton fabrics. Futon covers made from multiple panels of fabric, if the stencils are properly placed and the panels joined carefully, exhibit a pleasing over-all pattern in addition to the elements cut into the stencil.
One attraction of katazome was that it provided an inexpensive way for over-all patterns similar to expensive woven brocades to be achieved on cotton. As with many everyday crafts of Japan it developed into a respected art form of its own.
Besides cotton, katazome has been used to decorate linen, silk and fabrics that are all or partially synthetic.
Kalamkari, which literally means “pen-worked,” is a multistep process for creating designs. The cloth is first stiffened by being steeped in astringents and buffalo milk and then dried in the sun. The red, black, brown, and violet portions of the designs are outlined with a mordant, and the cloth is placed in a bath of alizarin. The cloth is then covered with wax, except for the parts to be dyed blue, and placed in an indigo bath. Afterwards, the wax is scraped off and the areas to be yellow or pale green are painted by hand.
It is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in parts of India and Iran. Its name originates in the Persian ,قلمکار which is derived from the words qalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen. Only natural dyes are used in kalamkari and it involves seventeen steps.
There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India – the Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam style. The Srikalahasti style of kalamkari, wherein the “kalam” or pen is used for free hand drawing of the subject and filling in the colors, is entirely hand worked. This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity – scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the Hindu mythological classics.
Bandhani (Hindi: बांधानी) is a type of tie-dye textile decorated by plucking the cloth with the fingernails into many tiny bindings that form a figurative design.The term bandhani is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root bandh (“to bind, to tie”). Today most Bandhani making centers are situated in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Sindh, Punjab regionand in Tamil Nadu where it’s known as Sungudi. Earliest evidence of Bandhani dates back to Indus Valley Civilization where dyeing was done as early as 4000 B.C. The earliest example of the most pervasive type of Bandhani dots can be seen in the 6th century paintings depicting the life of Buddha found on the wall of Cave 1 at Ajanta.Bandhani is also known as Bandhej, Bandhni, Piliya, and Chungidi in Tamil and regional dialects. Other tying techniques include Mothra, Ekdali and Shikari depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. The final products are known with various names including Khombi, Ghar Chola, Patori and Chandrokhani.
Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired.
A tradition of making batik is found in various countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria; the batik of Indonesia, however, is the best-known. Indonesian batik made in the island of Java has a long history of acculturation, with diverse patterns influenced by a variety of cultures, and is the most developed in terms of pattern, technique, and the quality of workmanship. In October 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.+
The word batik is Javanese in origin. It may either come from the Javanese word amba (‘to write’) and titik (‘dot’), or may derive from a hypothetical Proto-Austronesian root *beCík (‘to tattoo’). The word is first recorded in English in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1880, in which it is spelled battik. It is attested in the Indonesian Archipelago during the Dutch colonial period in various forms: mbatek, mbatik, batek and batik.
Batik is traditionally sold in 2.25-metre lengths used for kain panjang or sarong. It is worn by wrapping it around the hip, or made into a hat known as blangkon. The cloth can be filled continuously with a single pattern or divided into several sections.
Certain patterns are only used in certain sections of the cloth. For example, a row of isosceles triangles, forming the pasung motif, as well as diagonal floral motifs called dhlorong, are commonly used for the head. However, pasung and dhlorong are occasionally found in the body. Other motifs such as buketan (flower bouquet) and birds are commonly used in either the head or the body.
As each region has its own traditional pattern, batiks are commonly distinguished by the region they originated in, such as batik Solo, batik Pekalongan, and batik Madura. Batiks from Java can be distinguished by their general pattern and colours into batik pedalaman (inland batik) or batik pesisir (coastal batik). Batiks which do not fall neatly into one of these two categories are only referred to by their region. A mapping of batik designs from all places in Indonesia depicts the similarities and reflects cultural assimilation within batik designs.
Inland batik or batik kraton (Javanese court batik) is the oldest form of batik tradition known in Java. Inland batik has earthy color such as black, indigo, brown, and sogan (brown-yellow colour made from the tree Peltophorum pterocarpum), sometimes against a white background, with symbolic patterns that are mostly free from outside influence. Certain patterns are reserved for royalty, while other are worn on specific occasions. At a Javanese wedding for example, the bride wears specific patterns at each stage of the ceremony. Noted inland batiks are produced in Solo and Jogjakarta, cities traditionally regarded as the centre of Javanese culture. Batik Solo typically has sogan background and is preserved by the Susuhunan and Mangkunegaran Court. Batik Jogja typically has white background and is preserved by the Yogyakarta Sultanate and Pakualaman Court.
Coastal batik is produced in several areas of northern Java and Madura. In contrast to inland batik, coastal batiks have vibrant colours and patterns inspired by a wide range of cultures as a consequence of maritime trading. Recurring motifs include European flower bouquets, Chinese phoenix, and Persian peacocks.Noted coastal batiks are produced in Pekalongan, Cirebon, Lasem, Tuban, and Madura. Pekalongan has the most active batik industry.
A notable sub-type of coastal batik called Jawa Hokokai is not attributed to a particular region. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in early 1940, the batik industry greatly declined due to material shortages. The workshops funded by the Japanese however were able to produce extremely fine batiks called Jawa Hokokai. Common motifs of Hokokai includes Japanese cherry blossoms, butterflies, and chrysanthemums.
Another coastal batik called tiga negeri (batik of three lands) is attributed to three regions: Lasem, Pekalongan, and Solo, where the batik would be dipped in red, blue, and sogan dyes respectively. As of 1980, batik tiga negeri was only produced in one city.
Sundanese or Priangan Batik is the term for batik from the Priangan region of West Java and Banten. Although Priangan batiks can use a wide range of colours, a preference for indigo is seen in some of its variants. Natural indigo dye made from Indigofera is among the oldest known dyes in Java, and its local name tarum has lent its name to the Citarum river and the Tarumanagara kingdom, which suggests that ancient West Java was once a major producer of natural indigo. Noted Priangan batik is produced in Ciamis, Garut, and Tasikmalaya. Other traditions include Batik Kuningan influenced by batik Cirebon, batik Banten that developed quite independently, and an older tradition of batik Baduy.
Batik Banten employs bright pastel colours and represents a revival of a lost art from the Sultanate of Banten, rediscovered through archaeological work during 2002–2004. Twelve motifs from locations such as Surosowan and several other places have been identified.
Batik Baduy only employs indigo colour in shades ranged from bluish black to deep blue. It is traditionally worn as iket, a type of Sundanese headress similar to Balinese udeng, by Outer Baduy people of Lebak Regency, Banten.
Trade relations between the Melayu Kingdom in Jambi and Javanese coastal cities have thrived since the 13th century. Therefore, coastal batik from northern Java probably influenced Jambi. In 1875, Haji Mahibat from Central Java revived the declining batik industry in Jambi. The village of Mudung Laut in Pelayangan district is known for producing batik Jambi. Batik Jambi, as well as Javanese batik, influenced the Malaysian batik.
The Minangkabau people also produce batik called batiak tanah liek (clay batik), which use clay as dye for the fabric. The fabric is immersed in clay for more than 1 day and later designed with motifs of animal and flora.The Batik from Bengkulu, a city on west coast of Sumatra, is called Batik Besurek, which literary means “batik with letters” as they draw inspiration from Arabic calligraphy.
Batik making in the island of Bali is relatively new, but a fast-growing industry. Many patterns are inspired by local designs, which are favoured by the local Balinese and domestic tourists. Objects from nature such as frangipani and hibiscus flowers, birds or fishes, and daily activities such as Balinese dancer and ngaben processions or religious and mythological creatures such as barong, kala and winged lion are common. Modern batik artists express themselves freely in a wide range of subjects.
Contemporary batik is not limited to traditional or ritual wearing in Bali. Some designers promote batik Bali as elegant fabric that can be used to make casual or formal cloth. Using high class batik, like hand made batik tulis, can show social status.
Batik was mentioned in the 17th century Malay Annals. The legend goes when Laksamana Hang Nadim was ordered by Malacca King, Sultan Mahmud, to sail to India to buy 140 pieces of serasah cloth (batik) with 40 types of flowers depicted on each. Unable to find any that fulfilled the requirements explained to him, he made up his own. On his return unfortunately his ship sank and he only managed to bring four pieces, earning displeasure from the Sultan.
The method of Malaysian batik making is different from those of Indonesian Javanese batik, the pattern being larger and simpler with only occasional use of the canting to create intricate patterns. It relies heavily on brush painting to apply colours to fabrics. The colours also tend to be lighter and more vibrant than deep coloured Javanese batik. The most popular motifs are leaves and flowers. Malaysian batik often displays plants and flowers to avoid the interpretation of human and animal images as idolatry, in accordance with local Islamic doctrine. However, the butterfly theme is a common exception.
Indians are known to use resist method of printing designs on cotton fabrics, which can be traced back 2000 years. Initially, wax and even rice starch were used for printing on fabrics. Until recently batik was made only for dresses and tailored garments, but modern batik is applied in numerous items, such as murals, wall hangings, paintings, household linen, and scarves, with livelier and brighter patterns. Contemporary batik making in India is also done by the Deaf women of Delhi, these women are fluent in Indian Sign Language and also work in other vocational programs.
Over the past century, batik making in Sri Lanka has become firmly established. The Sri Lankan batik industry is a small scale industry which can employ individual design talent and mainly deals with foreign customers for profit. It is now the most visible of the island’s crafts with galleries and factories, large and small, having sprung up in many tourist areas. Rows of small stalls selling batiks can be found all along Hikkaduwa‘s Galle Road strip. Mahawewa, on the other hand, is famous for its batik factories.
Batik is done by the ethnic people in the South-West of China. The Miao, Bouyei and Gejia people use a dye resist method for their traditional costumes. The traditional costumes are made up of decorative fabrics, which they achieve by pattern weaving and wax resist. Almost all the Miao decorate hemp and cotton by applying hot wax then dipping the cloth in an indigo dye. The cloth is then used for skirts, panels on jackets, aprons and baby carriers. Like the Javanese, their traditional patterns also contain symbolism, the patterns include the dragon, phoenix, and flowers.
In Africa, where batik was originally imported by Dutch merchants from Indonesia (then the Netherlands East Indies), paste made from starch or mud is used as a resist instead of wax. The most developed resist-dyeing skills are to be found in Nigeria where the Yoruba make adire cloths. Two methods of resist are used: adire eleso which involves tied and stitched designs and adire eleko that uses starch paste. The paste is most often made from cassava starch, rice, and other ingredients boiled together to produce a smooth thick paste. The Yoruba of West Africa use cassava paste as a resist while the Soninke and Wolof people in Senegal uses rice paste. The Bamana people of Mali use mud as a resist.
Shibori is a Japanese manual resist dyeing technique, which produces patterns on fabric.
In Japan, the earliest known example of cloth dyed with a shibori technique dates from the 8th century; it is among the goods donated by the Emperor Shōmu to the Tōdai-ji inNara.
Until the 20th century, not many fabrics and dyes were in widespread use in Japan. The main fabrics were silk and hemp, and later cotton. The main dye was indigo and, to a lesser extent, madder and purple root. Shibori and other textile arts, such as tsutsugaki, were applied to all of these fabrics and dyes.
There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for shibori, and each way results in very different patterns. Each method is used to achieve a certain result, but each method is also used to work in harmony with the type of cloth used. Therefore, the technique used in shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed. Also, different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.
Sashiko (刺し子?, literally “little stabs”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditional sashiko was used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches. Today this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.
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