Out of Baduy!

Sunday afterLOOM @Drielandenpunt

[08] At this Sunday afterLOOM we like to introduce you to the group of stilt looms amongst the loin looms (backstrap looms).


Loom on Stilts

For that reason we present you our „Baduy Lui“ - a loin loom on bamboo stilts. The original of this stilt loom belongs to the Kanekes people on Java Island of Indonesia with their incredible archaic habits, the outer world won‘t stand.


The outer world calls them Baduy, but their own given name is Kanekes. Their cultural repertoire includes a loin loom, they kept pretty vivid up into this century. The type of loin loom they use is a stilted one like we show here. Even the life of the Kanekes may seem very untouched, their loom seems to be modified by the Malaysian Influence.


Circular to Flat Warp

Since at least 500 years the Kanekes Loom includes a reed and may have changed for that from circular warp to a flat warp. The stilts the warp board stands on are made by huge black bamboo canes of up to two meter of length. Nobody knows what was the loom of the Baduy about before that change. It‘s even thinkable that this ancient type of stilt loom is a pretty new modern time invention. Maybe the Baduy didn‘t use a loom and overtook the loom of a neighborhood model, that already was modified by a flat warp. This question comes up because generally the Baduy exercise just plain weaves, but the flat warp is related to songkhet weaving, so what is this change to a flat warp in the Baduy stilt loom about? 


Yoke, Reed & Batten Rest

For a real Baduy stilt loom you need also a yoke and a batten rest table to complete the components set. On top the height of the warp beam is in most cases at least 20 cm lower, but it works out also on this height. The height of the stilts differ from model to model, the size of our stilts is pretty oversized. In general long stilts are about 1,50m long, but you may find many half or even some quarter stilts. Another thing missing in this loom is the reed, the Kanekes use!


Our experiment shows out, that the Baduy Loom works even with a circular warp and without the help of yoke and reed. The yoke may get essential by raising the width. These same stilts we are going to use for our next stilt loom model on next Sunday AfterLOOM, by some few modifications we will transfer them into a Bhutan Loom. The outer world likes to discuss that the Baduy are illiterate. We hope you are literate enough to read their loom in the forest to imagine what these talks are about. Or did you ever had a Baduy ringing your bell for a love potion? They do get these kind of calls by US! So guys from the outer world, here comes your love potion!


What is the alphabet about, if the syntax doesn‘t transfer the semantic? A loom itself and especially a loin loom says: We are humans and we have a long culture; texture and textile are the grand parents of your letters. Open mind, teacher! These looms carry an old Information our books never knew! So if you exhibit any of these looms with the description "savage" in museums, it reflects the state of mind of the recipient and what a literate culture is all about: Just giving me proud to be a savage in your eyes!


In their culture the Kanekes belong to the very first people creating the reception of space. Living in the centre of that space they have to keep the world in balance. For that reason, they walk barefeet, strictly never using any kind of vehicle and so on…..trying continuously to prevent the world running "out of Baduy"! 


At the end we may recognize again, that their weaving and their loom is much more a sculptural and philosophical work, rather than just a garment. In that setting weaving may be a term for regulating time to realise space - same we celebrate resting in one perspective to observe a sculptural work in its posse.



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