Glossary

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  • Abaca
    (Musa textilis) a type of banana used as a source of leaf fiber for weaving cloth (amongst other uses), particularly in the Philippines. Abaca is usually processed into flat, untwisted strips before weaving.
  • Adat
    Customary law in traditional Indonesian society. A code of conduct governing social relations understood as having been handed down by the ancestors.
  • Adat House
    A ceremonial structure where community-owned heirloom objects, often including textiles, are stored.
  • Aniline Dye
    A synonym for commercial synthetic dyes. The earliest synthetic dyes were made from aniline, a coal-tar derivative. Discovered in 1856, aniline dyes were commercialized for a short period in the 19th century but had very poor light fastness and were soon replaced by other types of synthetic dye. The name, however, has stuck.
  • Appliqué

    Embellishment of finished fabric by application of another piece of cloth to create patterns.

  • Austronesian
    The major language group found throughout the Indonesian archipelago, extending from Taiwan in the north, Madagascar to the west and the Polynesian Islands to the east.
  • Backstrap Loom

    See body-tensioned loom.

  • Balanced Weave
    A woven cloth in which the warp and weft threads are equally prominent on the surface.
  • Bamboo Basket

    A component of some complex pattern heddles. It takes the form of a cylinder made of bamboo strips, with a diameter varying between 40–60 centimeters, around which pattern sticks are held in sequence. Also called a “pig basket” by some authors.

  • Bar Heddle
    A bar with grooves in it through which some warp yarns pass. When the bar is rotated, the warps in the grooves are lifted and lowered, creating sheds for the insertion of wefts. This type of heddle is used on some looms for making mats in the east Asia region.
  • Bark Cloth
    A non-woven cloth that is made from the inner bark of certain trees, particularly the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) and some species of fig (Ficus). Bark cloth is prepared by removing the outer bark, soaking the pale-colored inner bark in water and then beating it into flat sheets using a wooden or stone beater. See bast.
  • Basket Weave
    Plain weave based on groups of warp and weft yarns, instead of individual yarns. For example two or three warps/wefts are interlaced as if they were single warps/wefts.
  • Bast

    The soft “inner bark” or phloem of some plants (such as hemp, ramie, jute, nettles, and flax), from which fibers can be extracted for making into yarn. Bast can also be used to make non-woven cloth (bark cloth) by softening it through soaking and beating it out into a flat sheet. The most commonly encountered bast fibre in the indonesian archipelago is ramie, which is derived from nettle plants.

  • Batik

    A resist-dyeing process used for decorating woven cloth. The resisting agents used include damar tree sap or rice paste, but more frequently involves beeswax applied on the cloth using a canting (pen) or a cap (stamp) before dyeing. The wax is later removed by soaking the cloth in hot water, leaving the resisted area in the cloth’s original colour in contrast with the dyed area. The batik process reached its fullest expression in java, where repeated resist and dyeing steps are used to make complex, multi-coloured designs on finely woven cotton cloth.

  • Beater
    A wooden stick (sword) or a reed, used to beat-in weft during weaving.
  • Betel

    (Piper betle) is a vine of the family Piperaceae, which includes pepper and kava. The leaf of is usually combined with areca nut (‘betel nut’, Areca catechu), together with slaked lime and other flavourings, and is consumed as a mild stimulant throughout Southeast Asia, often as an integral part of social ritual.

  • Bidak (Lampung)
    An heirloom cloth that at times served as an element of costume or funerary cloth.
  • Bidirectional Heddle
    A heddle that has strings attached both above and below the warp, which can pull warps both upwards and downwards. Also called a clasped heddle.
  • Bobbin
    See shuttle.
  • Body-Tensioned Loom

    A loom that is tensioned by the weaver’s body, generally via a backstrap around the weaver’s waist. Body-tensioned looms include both frame and non-frame types. Synonyms: back-tensioned loom, backstrap loom, loin loom (india). In the indonesian archipelago this is the main type of loom. The warp is wound between two beams: a cloth beam and a warp beam. The weaver sits on a mat on the ground, with the cloth beam secured to her waist by a backstrap. The warp beam is secured to an external point (such as a house beam) or in a pair of uprights in a simple frame.