In East Sumba in the southeastern corner of Indonesia we find striking cotton textiles made by
age-old techniques.

While Sumba is most famous for the bold ikat designs of the textiles worn by men… Women produce even more original cloths for their own wear.

Thick white threads pick out the pattern against a dark background, in designs that are both intricate and simple at the same time…

The effect is achieved by using supplementary warp threads woven into the cloth, either lifted onto the front surface of the cloth, or hidden on the back surface .

Though the technique is ancient it is still used by the youth of today.

The patterns are handed down from their grandmothers, but new materials and new variations have been introduced to make these garments more practical to wear and to care for.

While the tradition lau pahikung contrasted thick white threads with against a dark background, access to newer, finer, machine-spun threads and new bright synthetic colours open up many new opportunities.