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as the Creative Economy Strength of
Timor-Leste

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What is Tais?

The Tais is a traditional cloth born from centuries-old knowledge and techniques passed down over generations, done by women with the assistance of a back-strap loom called gedog.The most popular techniques of Tais making are generally classified into: direct dyeing technique; resist dyeing technique known as futus; and floating warp technique (vertical yarn) known as sotis.

 
 

The Values of Tais

The arranging of motifs may be repeated several times so as to produce the desired variety of color combinations. Afterwards, the decorated yarn is ready to use, while the warp yarn (vertical) is woven on the back-strap loom, and the weft yarn (horizontal) is rolled across binoculars.
The entire process of dyeing and weaving is usually done by women. Whilst it can be carried out by a certain number of people, it may also be completed by one person alone. In the past, before weavers began their work, a certain ritual had to be performed, in which they had to prepare offerings for their gods and ancestors.

 
 

Watch Our Video about Tais

 

Made from
Natural Resources

Handspun cotton is widely used across weaving centers in Timor-Leste, especially for classical motifs. The cotton crops that have dried and been cleaned of its seeds, are pounded until they puff back up and once this happens, are spun into yarn. The spun yarn is then separated into two sections. The first section is used as warp yarn which, once dyed, is placed vertically on the loom. The other part will be the weft yarn woven horizontally past the first yarn.

Before learning of chemical coloring, weavers in Timor-Leste relied on plant variants in their surroundings to make dyes. These plants included indigo leaves (indigofera) for blue, mud for black, nenuka root (morinda citrifolia), candlenuts for various shades of red, kinur (turmerics) for yellow, bua matak (betel nut barks) for brown, chilli leaves, ketapang leaves (terminalia catappa), and mango leaves for green.

 
 

Uniqueness in
Each Variations of Tais

Tais making skills are spread almost evenly across sucos (villages) in Timor-Leste. For ritual purposes, Tais is normally stored in traditional houses, where the ancestors are believed to protect it. It is because the existence of the historical fabric is equated with the regeneration and survival of families and tribes who wear them.

The creation of Tais motifs and colors stands inseparable from the beliefs, geographical conditions, availability of natural resources and influence of foreign cultures in the form of intercultural connections or trade relations with other countries.

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Crafted with Love & Passion


The entire process of dyeing and weaving is usually done by women. Whilst it can be carried out by a certain number of people, it may also be completed by one person alone. In the past, before weavers began their work, a certain ritual had to be performed, in which they had to prepare offerings for their gods and ancestors.