The wonderful traditional textile called Endek or endek sarongs are the most common of the Balinese traditional textiles to be found on the island of Bali today. In terms of technique and available designs, endek sarongs would be the most highly developed of the Bali traditional textiles. This is mainly due to the fact that endek sarongs have found many new non-traditional uses both in and outside of Bali.
The ancient and traditional Balinese textiles known as endek or endek sarongs were once solely used by families of Balinese nobility. Today however Endek sarongs are widely used as a modern day clothing textile. These once unique textiles have become an important cultural identity for the whole Balinese society. Men and women of all social classes ware and use endek sarongs. When most Balinese buy sarongs in Bali, they will buy sarongs made from endek.
The name endek refers to the patterning technique used in making these traditional Bali textiles. Endek is in-fact a variant of the ikat process that is widely practiced throughout Indonesia. Ikat, which means to bundle or to tie in Indonesian. Is the very complicated and time-consuming resist-dye technique in which un-dyed yarns (threads of cotton) are mounted on a frame in bundles, according to and depending on the desired pattern.
The yarns are tied in places with lengths of banana bast or plastic strips. During the ikat dyeing process, the tied areas will resist the dye and will remain uncolored. Repeated tying and dyeing will result in a multihued pattern of great intricacy. It is this great intricacy that has seen these Bali sarongs thrive until today.
The preprogrammed pattern designs can be applied to the warp threads (warp ikat) or to the weft threads (weft ikat). Or applied to both the groups of threads so that the patterning of each group supplements the other (double ikat). The two forms of ikat known in Bali are weft ikat, called endek. Endek has the pattern in the weft threads only. The other form of ikat is double ikat called Geringsing.
Geringsing textiles and sarongs have patterns in both the warp and the weft. Double ikat (geringsing) is an exceedingly complicated traditional Balinese textile to produce. Both the patterned designed groups of threads have to meet at precise points during weaving of the intricate Bali textile. This traditional textile of double ikat known as Geringsing, is only produced in one location in the whole of Indonesia. In this tiny village named Tenganan Pegeringsingan in eastern Bali, you will still find doulble ikat Bali sarongs.
Only in Tenganan Pegeringsingan in eastern Bali has the making of this ancient traditional textile art been mastered and performed for many centuries. In more recent years combined warp and weft ikat processes have been used in some areas in Gianyar (central Bali). However here the warp is patterned in some parts of the cloth and the weft in other parts of the cloth. However patterns in both warp and weft are never blended into each other as in Tenganan.
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