The term songket used for the sustainable songket textiles comes from the Malay word sungkit, which means “to hook”. It has something to do with the method of songket making; to hook and pick a group of threads, and then slip the gold and silverthreads in it. Another theory suggested that it was constructed from the combination of two terms; tusuk (prick) and cukit (pick) that combined as sukit, modified further as sungki and finally songket. Some say that the word songket was derived from songka, a Palembang cap in which once gold threads were woven.
West Sumatera also has a long tradition of songket. The wealth of Minangkabau’s (one of the tribes in West Sumatera) natural resources and its culture is affecting the creation of beautiful patterns. Even though they created the patterns through a very simple tool the result is becoming a high value of artwork.
Songket created by these women is not only a piece of textile but it is transformed into an art form. In order to keep the environment safe, cleaner production is used.
The Sawahlunto weaving group is assisted by LP2M, one of ASPPUK’s local partners in West Sumatera, focusing on women empowerment through traditional hand-woven textiles which is thus preserved as one of the local art culture.
This project is supported by European Union in partnership with Hivos, ASPPUK, NTFP-EP and CTI.
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