6 Books On Ikat Fabric

Ikat is one of the first heritage craft techniques that we worked with since our beginning. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the term ‘ikat’ refers to a process, verb; weaving technique and the completed fabric itself. It is a tie-and-resist-dye craft

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If you’re curious and want to know more, get our recommendation on 6 books on the ikat fabric:


1. Ikat Textiles of India, Chelna Desai 

This takes on a contemporary view of ikat fabric across India. If you’re looking for a starting place on the craft of ikat, its history and other terms that are helpful to know, give this book your time. You can expect to find designs from the everyday to more complex and celebratory examples. Plus, a glossary.

2. Tenun Ikat: Indonesia’s Ikat Weaving Traditions, Ministry of Culture and Tourism Republic of Indonesia

Another beginner-friendly option, this book is more informational and takes you on an explorative journey of Indonesia’s textile culture. Ikat is a craft that expands from India to Central Asia, all over Southeast Asia, Japan, Africa, and Latin America and this take focuses on Indonesia. Tenun Ikat focuses on ikat fabric and weaving in Indonesia, across different regions and how it varies from its traditional roots in its modern use. 

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3. Indian Ikat Textiles, Rosemary Crill

This volume is based on the collection of ikat fabric from India that are exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Dating back to the mid-19th century, these works hold a scholarly lens to the history of Indian textiles.

4. The Women’s Warpath: Iban Ritual Fabrics from Borneo, Traude Gavin

An antithesis to the previous recommendations, this book is an anthropological documentation of ikat weaving in Borneo. More commonly known as Iban weaving, this notes down the ritual and cultural background of the textile craft. From its relation to headhunting practices to the belief that only positive dreams can be woven into the ikat fabric. 

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5. Ikat: Splendid silks of Central Asia, Kate Fitz Gibbon, Andrew Hale

20 years of research and fieldwork in the making, this book takes a deeper look into the 19th century ikat silks of Central Asia. Ikat woven in silk is often revered due to its technicality and the technicolour nature of the finished textile. Take a read if you want to understand the social and historical context of the process and production of ikat fabric. 

6. From Dashes to Dragons: the Ikats-Patterned Textiles of Southeast Asia, Michael Howard

If you’re looking for an open discussion and more anthropological stance on the significance of ikat in Southeast Asia, this book should be at the top of your list. From the ikat textiles of Sumba, to the Tai tube skirt cloths, and double ikat textiles from Bali–this book takes you on an exploration of the variety and diversity of ikat fabric and the people who make it.

Bookmark and share this list for keeps later on. 

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