Country: Indonesia
Women in Tenganan weave double ikat Geringsing cloth using backstrap loom in Penggeringsingan, Tenganan, Bali.

Geringsing is a ceremonial cloth from Bali Aga society in Penggringsingan, Tenganan, Bali, Indonesia. Traditionally, geringsing is made from cotton yarn and is woven on a backstrap loom. Geringsing is made with double ikat technique, which only could be found in this community across the archipelago, and is one in only three communities in the world besides Japan and India.

The process of making geringsing cloth with double ikat technique is labour-intensive and time-consuming. Ikat is a Bahasa Indonesia word for tying or knotting. Ikat is a resist dye technique in which unwoven yarns are tightly tied in selected areas with water repellent cord such as raffia, or cord that are made of palm leaves or plastic, before undergoing the dyeing process to produce desirable motifs. Ikat process is usually carried out with either warp yarns or weft yarns only, but double ikat uses this technique for both the weft yarns and the warp yarns.

Geringsing double ikat cloth

Geringsing cloth is a plain weave, therefore the weavers have to match each individual warp yarn to its weft in order to show the desirable motifs that are produced by the double ikat process. All colours of geringsing cloth are derived from natural dye. A muted red-brown from Mengkudu (Morinda citrifolia) root plants, and very dark blue from leaves of Indigofera plants. The tied parts of the yarn usually resulted in a pale umber. The dyeing process usually takes a very long time, ranging from six months, up to years. geringsing cloth’s motif ranges from floral, such as the flower of Cempaka (Magnolia champaca), geometric to figurative Wayang motifs.

Both men and women use geringsing in a ceremonial context. Men usually wear it as hip cloth in two layers: the inner layer and outer ornamental layer. Women wear it for breast and hip cloth. geringsing cloth is in part of any important rituals and rite of passages of Bali Aga people from the beginning to the end of their life. People of Bali Aga received their first geringsing at hair cutting ritual in their childhood. Bride and groom wear geringsing cloth in the ceremony. After death, Bali Aga people also use geringsing to cover the deceased. geringsing cloth is believed to give magical protective and healing properties to its wearer.