Threads of white ropes supported by bamboo poles stretch across Jombor village in Central Java’s Klaten, in public buildings and private homes, in places they resemble spiders’ webs.
After dawn, there is a distinct sound as the ropes are gyred. It seems to symbolize the economic pulse of the village, as the area has been known as the center of the rope industry since the Japanese occupation in the 1940s.
The majority of Jombor residents still depend on the industry, producing a variety of ropes including those used on ships. A financial crisis once hit but it did not deter the residents.
Though ropes are still needed in daily lives and they sell well, the makers fear that reduced prices will affect their livelihoods. (wng)