Ulos Sibolang is one of the primary Ulos and the most used during ceremonial events within the Batak communities. This ulos usually consists of only two shades, a soft blue, or white arrowhead motif on a dark indigo blue background except for Ulos Sibolang from the Muara region, which is decorated with red side panels. 


In the past, all Batak Ulos were produced for personal use or to give as gifts during ceremonial events. The larger textiles are called Ulos and the smaller ones are usually called hande-hande (shoulder cloth). Sibolang Toba is a large textile, but Ulos Sibolang from other Batak regions such as Muara, Karo and Simalungun are often made slightly smaller than the Toba Sibolang and are often decorated with side panels in dark maroon colour.


Ulos Sibolang is often worn by the head of the traditional ceremonies during weddings, funerals, or other major Batak events. Culturally, Sibolang is used more often to wrap corpses alongside Ulos Ragi Hidup or Ulos Sirara, hence this Ulos is categorised as Ulos for sombre occasions.

Ulos Sibolang Toba, woven in Balige circa 1970s
Ulos Sibolang Rasta of Muara, woven in Muara in 1920

Today, a large percentage of Ulos are woven using shaft loom and dyed using synthetic dyes. The quality of the modern ulos produced in this way is far below the standard of Ulos produced using a back-strap loom. Thankfully, due to the popularity of naturally dyed ikat textiles from other textile regions in Indonesia, the Batak weavers are bringing back natural dye ikat processes into their weaving projects.


Sibolang, though less pictorial in its design compared to any Hinggi ikat design from Sumba, the traditional production processes, are equally complex, due to the amount of tying involved to achieve the desired motifs.


We currently have a few vintage Sibolang Ulos in our online store. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding our Ulos. 



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