Threads Of Life



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Planting corn among the stones of Nusa Penida.

Planting corn among the stones of Nusa Penida. The weavers of Nusa Penida, a small, rocky island off the coast of Bali, once specialized in unusual textiles called rangrang. Unlike most weaving techniques, rangrang does not use a single, continuous weft thread. Instead, thick bundles of wefts create interlocking zig-zag or diamond patterns, and small empty spaces are incorporated into the design. This style of weaving is known as slit-tapestry. When Threads of Life first met Ni Nyoman Seru, she was one of a dwindling number of weavers who still produced rangrang textiles, and the technique was slowly disappearing. Threads of Life asked Ibu Seru for some new rangrang pieces, and provided her with naturally dyed thread. Since receiving the commissions, Ibu Seru has begun to teach the technique to local young women, and rangrang has started to re-emerge.


  • Ceremonial Shoulder Cloth
  • 2006
  • Dyed by Ngurah Hendrawan
  • Woven by Ni Nyoman Seru
  • Ampel village, Nusa Penida, Bali
  • Slit-tapestry
  • Cotton, natural dyes
  • 45 x 190 cm. (18 x 75 in)
  • Code # T.BL.NP.054


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I Made Rai Artha and his bride Ni Kadek Suartami wearing Balinese textiles for their wedding day.

Both men and women wear full-body songket wraps for some of life’s most important moments. At a Balinese wedding, the bride and groom wear a pair of matching songket. The couple pictured below are wearing pieces from Sideman village, where the textile at right was made. The Balinese also wear songket when their teeth are filed in a ceremony called metatah. Every young person in Bali undergoes metatah, a ceremony as important in the Balinese ritual cycle as a proper burial. A priest symbolically curbs natural human vices by filing down the six upper front teeth. Each tooth represents a weakness: anger, jealousy, lust, drunkenness, greed, and confusion. Some young people ask the priest to grind their teeth into a straight line; others ask that he simply tap each tooth with the file. Balinese parents have a special responsibility to see that their children’s teeth are filed.

  • Ceremonial Wrapping
  • 2007
  • Dyed by Ida Ayu Puniari
  • Woven by Ida Ayu Raka
  • Sideman village, Bali
  • Warp faced plain weave, supplementary wefts
  • Silk, natural dye
  • 105 x 189 cm. (41 x 74.5 in)
  • Code # T.BL.SD.055

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