Ikat in Bali, Indonesia

Ikat cloth is an essential part of the traditional Balinese costume. The ikat technique was brought to Indonesia many centuries ago by traders. It has since developed into a high art in Bali and continues to challenge its dyers and weavers. Backstrap weavers produce cotton double ikat, while foot-loom weavers produce silk and cotton weft ikat yardage.


The historic backstrap loom, double ikat cloths, and wedding costumes are on exhibit at the Bali Museum in Denpasar: 

The warp of the Balinese backstap loom is stretched between a wooden structure (cecaga & pendalan) and a carved wooden support (por) that rests on the weaver's back (the ends are tied to the bottom warp bar). The weaver moves forward and back to change the sheds, passing through the weft on a bamboo spindle (tundak) and beating it down with a polished wooden beater (belida). The shed roll (bumbungan) is a hollow piece of bamboo with bells inside that produce a sound as the weaving progresses.

Geringsing is double ikat cloth that is woven on a backstrap loom and worn on special ocassions in Tenganan. The narrow cloth is wrapped around the upper body. Both the warp and the weft are dyed before being woven. The dyes are made from local plant roots, fruits, and leaves. Ikat is often worn wrapped around the lower body, upper body and / or head on ceremonial occasions.

Backstrap-woven double ikat is still produced today in Tenganan:

The warp and weft of this backstrap-woven cotton are ikat dyed.

Weft ready to be dyed.

The dyed warp threads are carefully separated after the ties have been removed.

The weaver moves forward and raises the heddle to form a shed. The beater is inserted and used to make the opening larger, then the weft is passed through.

A pick is used to perfectly align the weft. Notice how the warp wraps around the upper and lower beams, forming a tube.


These historic weft ikat cloths are on display at the Bali Museum in Denpasar: 

Cepuk weft ikat cloth worn on religious occasions.

Endek cloth (weft ikat; ikat tunggal) features plant and animal motifs. It is worn on religious occasions by people of the middle and lower classes.

Foot-loom woven weft ikat is produced in a number of places, including Singaraja and Sidemen:

Measuring the weft threads at Pelangi, Sidemen, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, (telephone 366 23012):

The weft is wound onto a rotating frame, several threads at a time.

Preparing the threads for dying at Pertenunan Berdikari Handwoven Cloth Factory, JL. Dewi Sartika 42, Singaraja, Bali, Indonesia:

The design is transferred onto the threads.

The parts of the threads that will not be dyed are bound tightly with plastic.


The weft is dyed, air-dried, then some of the binding is removed and it is dyed again at Pelangi.


Removing the ties from the dyed threads at Pertenunan Berdikari.

Dye is painted directly onto the thread by hand when only small amounts are needed at Pertenunan Berdikari.


The dyed weft is wound onto a bobbin (missing here) that is placed in a fly shuttle.

The edge is adjusted each time the ikat weft is passed through the shed to assure correct alignment of the pattern.

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Highly Recommended Non-Governmental Organization:
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Recommended Guide:
Rudy (arranged through Tutut) was my fabulous bilingual guide and driver in Bali.

Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura in 2007. Please look at Carol's home page to see more about crafts around the world.