Very Beautiful, Let’s Get To Know NTT’s Variety of Woven Fabric Motifs

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Very Beautiful, Let's Get To Know NTT's Variety of Woven Fabric Motifs - Photo 1

1NEWS, Indonesia is rich with a variety of traditional fabrics. Rooted in hereditary traditions, every region in Indonesia has various types of woven fabrics that hold many philosophies and stories in them.

One of the famous woven fabrics comes from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Since ancient times the people of NTT have been taught to weave from generation to generation in order to maintain and preserve culture. No wonder NTT has various types of weaving and motifs.

According to the production process, woven fabrics in NTT are divided into three types, namely:

  • Ikat weaving, the motif is created from the binding of weft threads. Tenun ikat is widely distributed in all districts of NTT, except in Manggarai district and parts of Ngada district.
  • Buna weaving is a cloth woven using yarn that has been dipped in dye first. Buna weaving is widely available in Kupang, Belu, and surrounding districts.
  • Lotis weaving or often called songket cloth has a manufacturing process similar to buna weaving. This is the most common type of weaving in the NTT community.

Meanwhile, based on the motif, NTT woven fabrics are usually divided by region. Following ACCURATE.CO describe the various motifs of NTT woven fabrics, Thursday (30/9/2021):

Sumba woven fabric

Sumba woven fabric motifs tend to be large in size. However, the motifs on the fabrics of West and East Sumba are quite different. West Sumba woven cloth looks simpler.

The surface is plain and there are only symmetrical decorations or animal figures on the bottom and top. On the other hand, West Sumba’s fabrics reflect liveliness, are rich and diverse with realistic-looking wildlife decorative ornaments.

Here are some popular motifs on Sumba woven fabrics:


Kaliuda motifs usually depict chickens, birds, horses, buffalo, cows, butterflies, and mamuli (womb-shaped jewelry). There is also a Kaliuda motif that combines a horse and a chicken, which is often used as a wedding dowry.


Lessu means shrimp. Like a shrimp shell that comes off at a certain period, this motif symbolizes that human life will always experience a transition. This motif is usually worn by kings and nobles


Andungu or skull tree is a symbol of the palm tree, where kings hang the skulls of enemies or criminals. This motif is usually found on the ikat cloth of East Sumba.


Mamuli is a typical Sumba earring jewelry in the form of omega or womb. This is a form of respect for women, and symbolizes fertility.

Woven fabric from NTT

Woven Fabrics on Flores Island

Flores woven fabrics have very diverse motifs, such as figures of fishermen, turtles, crabs, trees, skulls, twigs, rain and many more. These motifs are more often found in the Sikha area.

Meanwhile, Ende woven fabrics are usually influenced by European-style decorations. There is also a cloth decorated with motifs similar to kanji. Yes, it can be said that this is the imprint of the settlers in Ende since ancient times.

One of the famous motifs in Ende is the jara gaja, which depicts an elephant which is believed to be the favorite animal of the gods, and a horse. These two animals are made in alternating positions.

From Maumere, you can find rare atabilang and Mawarani motifs. Rarely atabilang is a human motive to ride or stand next to a horse to ride it. Meanwhile, Mawarani is the morning star. That said, this motif was made especially for the princesses of the Sikka Kingdom. Meanwhile, from Manggarai there are motifs of wela kawu or kapok flower, ju’i or border lines, anggong or spiders, and wela runu or runu flowers.

The last one is the mawo butu motif depicting boats, horses, octopuses and humans, as well as complex decorations. Usually woven cloth with the Lawo Butu motif is worn in certain traditional ceremonies and rituals. Unfortunately, this motif is already very difficult to find.

In addition to Sumba and Flores, NTT also has distinctive motifs from the islands of Rote, Adorana, Lembata, Sabu, Solor, Alue, Komodo. Just like other regions, Rote woven fabrics also have unique patterns and motifs.[]


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