During a hot afternoon, a group of women from Sikka regency, Flores, showcased their expertise in making traditional ikat (woven) fabric in Maumere, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. The stall was a part of cultural exhibition held to celebrate the first international bicycle race inFlores.
These women are members of Bliran Sina group from Watublopi village in Sikka regency. They sat together to demonstrate the process of making traditional ikat cloth to visitors of the exhibition.
Behind them were the fruits of their labor; colorful traditional ikat cloth hung beautifully, captivating those admiring the intricate details. In Sikka region, each family must produce their own ikat cloth. The role usually is given to women. The women carry on weaving while completing other household tasks such as feeding their children or cleaning.
Weaving is a skill every woman should master. Sikka women learn to weave at a young age, usually around 10 years old. The young girls start by learning how to spin cotton. One or two years later, they learn to weave cloth and gradually learn difficult motifs as they grow older.
When they wed, Sikka women must present their ikat cloth as proof of their ability to take care of their family. The cloth presented in the wedding usually features sacred symbols. This precious heritage is usually handed down to later generations. [yan]