History of Ikat

The History of Ikat

The word “ikat” is derived from the Malay-Indonesian word “mengaikat” which translates “to tie”. Ikat is most well-known in India, Indonesia, and Japan and even has traditions existing in various countries across Latin America and parts of Europe, owing to Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in Southeast Asia from the 16th century. The intricacy of the double ikat technique requires the most skilled and experienced artisans, thus it is only produced in India, Indonesia, and Japan, where the craft has existed for millennia. The discovery of frescoes – a type of mural painting that makes use of lime plaster – in Maharashtra’s Ajanta caves provides evidence that ikat was already present in India by the 7th century CE, having gained popularity through trade with west China and Indonesia. Throughout the centuries craftsmen have refined the craft of ikat dyeing and weaving, enhancing it and facilitating its diffusion on the ikat in the modern era. Andhra Pradesh and subsequently, the separated state of Telangana, are celebrated as the place of birth of Indian ikat. Weft ikat from Andhra Pradesh, 19th century. This was produced using the Telia Rumal technique treating the yarn with oil prior to weaving. We love sourcing ikats from different weavers in India. The products that we make from these fabrics have an elegant feel.

Map illustrated by Jenny Arora

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