HINGGI IKAT textiles from East sumba

Hinggi ikat textiles are handwoven warp ikat with stylized figurative and abstract geometric designs created by textile artisans in the isle of Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia. Hinggi textiles are usually woven in large sizes and made as a ceremonial blankets for men to wear during ceremonial events.


During ceremonial events, men will wear Hinggi ikat tied around their hips and one wrapped around their shoulders. When a member of a noble family passes away, the body of the deceased is usually kept in the house for a long time until the family is ready to perform a lavish funeral ceremony. During this time, there will be a steady flow of guests coming to pay their last respects bringing the finest quality of Hinggi ikat to wrap around the body.

The traditional production process of Hinggi Ikat is the work of men and women artisans. Men will usually create the design on the yarn, and the tying process can be done by men and woven. Today, Sumba textiles are dyed in both natural vegetable dyes and synthetic dyes. The weaving is usually done by women.


Hinggi ikat comes in many different motifs, sizes, and quality. Textiles that are made in the Kerajaan (the villages for the Kings and their slaves) are the finest as they are usually made from the highest quality cotton yarns, and made with striking designs. The productions of textiles around the Kerajaan are highly controlled and motifs are usually well guarded. However, today many extremely talented common artisans in Sumba who are not connected to the Kerajaan have produced amazing pictographic Hinggi Ikat.

A part of ikat motifs on tied yarns in Kerajaan Rende, ready for dying
A woman textile artisans from Kanatang weaving house I photographed during our glasses distribution in 2019
Admiring exquisite Hinggi textiles during my visit to Kerajaan Rende in 2019

Genuine Hinggi Ikat textiles usually come with the “KABAKIL”. Kabakil is the woven section found in both ends of Hinggi ikat textiles, woven to secure the yarn from fraying. Although not all genuine Hinggi ikat are protected with the kabakil, this is a good guide for the textile collectors to differentiate from the fake Hinggi ikat currently heavily produced in Troso, Central Java, made for the tourist markets. To include Kabakil in the textiles requires special skills. This process can take days to complete, and cannot be copied easily. 

We supply many varieties of Hinggi Ikat textiles in our online shop. Some are textiles dyed in natural dyes and some in synthetic dyes. If you have any questions about the textiles you see in our shop, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for stopping by. Salam, Nelly Andon




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