Colours from the Sea, Fibres from the Land: Warp Ikat Textile Production and Natural Dyeing of the Alurung, Alor Regency, Indonesia

By Linda McIntosh, Yulianti Peni, and Julius Alelang | 12 August 2022

This project will document the steps of warp ikat textile production of the Alurung, also known as Alorese, ethnic group of Alor Regency, NTT, Indonesia.

Warp ikat is the primary technique used to produce textiles used or worn for special occasions such as festivals and rites of passage. Bands of warp ikat combined with different coloured warp stripes compose different types of tubular garments called tenapi that are worn by both men and women. The project will record the design format of each type of tenapi by collecting data on natural dye recipes used to create the multi-coloured stripes and the warping process for each tenapi type. Alurung weavers, especially women residing on the small islands of Ternate and Buaya, utilise plants and marine life to dye threads. Weavers create a silky thread by spinning milkweed pod floss with raw cotton, another unique trait of Alurung textiles.

Alurung is the sole indigenous Austronesian language spoken in Alor Regency, and the population of Alurung is approximately 25,000. The project team will document the steps of textile production of the Alurung over a 1-year period beginning in June 2022 and ending in June 2023. These processes include spinning cotton and milkweed fibers, the application of warp ikat, warping specific types of textiles, and different kinds of plant and marine life dyes. It is imperative to document these processes since many are endangered such as the production of milkweed thread. Research methods will involve participant and non-participant observation, informal interviewing of individuals and groups, and audio-visual recordings.

The project will share its results of the research with the regency’s museum and the local communities involved in the documentation.

 

PI:
Linda McIntosh

Collaborators:
Yulianti Peni
Julius Alelang

Location of Research:
Alor Regency, Northwest Alor Subdistrict, Central, West and North Pantar Subdistrict, Indonesia

Host Institution:
Tracing Patterns Foundation

 

 

Top Banner Image: Setting up a warp that includes warp ikat-dyed threads on a backstrap loom. Ternate Island, Alor Regency, Indonesia (Photo: Linda McIntosh)