This was the first area in Sumatera, at the most western tip in the far north, to be converted to the Muslim faith. Here there is a long tradition of weaving in silk and in the 17th century CE (AD) Aceh exported raw silk.

Generally textiles were woven using the ikat (tie and dye) method, but borders could be added in gold threads of songket to enliven the subdued colours of the central ground. Touches of colour could be inserted with motifs of stylised flowers and bird forms that resemble diamonds, hooks and meanders.

The back-strap loom is still used here, but upright looms manipulated with pedals and flying shuttles have been introduced in workshops to accelerate production.

cf Cita Tenun Indonesia. “Tenun”, KITLV – Jakarta, Jakarta, 2010
Sylvia Fraser-Lu, “Handwoven Textiles of South-East Asia”, OUP, Singapore 1988