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The Almost Extinct Toraja Tenun

The Almost Extinct Toraja Tenun
A woman weaves Toraja tenun as seen behind orange thread (illustration). |
The heritage of Indonesian culture is no doubt very rich. The deeper we dig, the more we find the treasure. When batik is already famous, do not forget to mention hand woven textile or tenun. One of the beautiful Tenun is originated from Toraja, South Sulawesi.

Sadly, it is now hard to find Toraja tenun as it is difficult to find tenun weaver. And there are only a few who can make unique pattern. 

“The old pattern is almost extinct,” Dinny Jusuf, a small medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneur, who make Toraja tenun craft named Toraja Melo.

There are only several motives that can be made by a handful of weavers. Usually, the weavers are old and reluctant to inherit their skills to the younger generation. Meanwhile, the Toraja youth prefers to work as migrant workers in Malaysia. “In Toraja, weaving tenun is only part-time job,” Jusuf said.
The elders do weaving while they are taking care of their grandchild. 

The electricity have not yet fully distributed to Toraja. It makes the weavers prefer to make bright colored tenun. The dark one should be done outside the house with the help from sunshine.
According to Jusuf, Toraja tenun product is hardly to expand if they still depend only on traditional process. Jusuf is now trying to introduce Toraja tenun by open an exhibition in Textile Museum, Jakarta. At least 50 Toraja tenun cloths are needed for the exhibition.

And, finding 50 pieces of are not that easy. Jusuf asked her friends and colleagues to help her collecting Toraja tenun. Like other traditional cloths, Toraja tenun can be converted into contemporary and functional pieces, such as bags, shoes, and ipad cases. “The challenge is the basic material supply,” Jusuf said.

Source: Republika Online

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