Cultural Travel and Textiles

Cultural travel takes one through a portal into a whole new way of seeing things. One view into another culture is through the lens of textiles. There are still cultures around the world that have preserved their traditional textile arts. The Batak in Indonesia are one such culture that still weave circular warps because they believe that magic exists in the spaces where the warp and weft cannot be woven. In addition to the textile arts of this Indonesian culture, they also construct houses in the shape of boats. Below is an image of one of these structures. Textiles embed the story of a culture within the warp and weft and within the patterns that are created specific to cultural identity.


Cultural Travel in Indonesia

Photo by Mr. Wabu CC-SA-2.0

Indonesia stretches for more than 5000 miles, and consists of more than 17,500 islands. There are five main islands and 30 smaller islands. It is the most volcanic country on the earth. Called the Ring of fire, Indonesia straddles the equator, and it’s many islands have a rainy and a dry season.


The textiles of the Batak, as well as the textiles from each of the other Indonesian  islands, provide a cultural traveler with the story of the culture told through cloth. Textiles are an ancient means of communication, and there are very few cultures today that have their textile traditions in place. One such culture is the Batak on Sumatra. If you are a cultural traveler and want to learn more about cloth, textiles, and places in the world where you can still connect with the traditions and beliefs of a culture told through cloth, then perhaps you might want to go here.


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