Lautem is located in the eastern part of Timor Leste, including the 1,702 km2 wide Jaco island. Los Palos is Lautem district’s capital located 248KM away from east of Dili. This municipal shares identical names with areas in Timor Leste (formerly Timor Portugis) . During the time Timor Leste is still called Timor Portugis, there are many areas that has Portuguese names such as: Vila Nova de Malaca (Lautem hari), Nova Nazaré (Com), Nova Sagres (Tutuala), Nova Ancora (Laivai) and Silvicola (Loré). Lautem consists of 5 (five) districts: Iliomar distric, Lautem Moro, Los Palos, Luro and Tutuala. Other than the country’s official language (Tetun and Portuguese), the locals could also speak Fataluku language, a Papuan language that is being used in New Guinea.

Timor-Leste Map
HOW TO GET TO Lautem About 7-8 hours from Dili with 4WD Vehicle to Tutuala, subdistrict of Lautem.

The Tais of Lautem



Com is located at LAUTEM sub-district in the eastern part of Timor Leste close to Com's Harbour, 35 KM away from Los Palos. Tourists can get to Sentra Com directly from Dili with 6-7 hours travel time on car.


Name of Group : BEIRAMAR
Group leader : Mrs Rosa Morera Ratu
Contact detail :
Members : 12 people


Raw Material

Ingredients that are used to make Tais in Com are the combination of cotton that are spun into yarn and threads that are commonly sold in stores.
Cottons were spun into yarn using traditional method and coloration were done using natural agents such as Charunu plant, Nenuka plant and clay/mud.



Pattern & Design

There are three types of classical Tais that still apply special motifs in line with their ancestral restrictions, including:

1. Tais Sica Lau (The Sica Lau Tais) Commonly worn at traditional ceremonies, with typical shades predominated by dark brown and black on the Sica Lau Mane Tais (men's Tais), and red shades on the Sica Lau Feto Tais (women's Tais).

2. Tais Upulakuaru (The Upulakuaru Tais) Upulakuaru is the classical Tais worn by the people surrounding the Com region and its closest neighbors at traditional ceremonies; particularly weddings due to its more colorful motifs.

3. Tais Sapulau (The Sapulau Tais) Commonly worn by unmarried men and women. All three types of classical Tais also have matching motifs for men (mane) and women (feto).

Contemporary Tais is developed independently on the motifs and colors requested by customers. Its typical features include:

1. Modern Tais with freestyle patterns;

2. Modern Tais with "songket" patterns normally dominated by bright colors, especially the green shade of leaves.

"Tais Mane: Sikalao Man of Lautem - Los Palos"

The Correlation between Tradition and Tais in Com

Tais is closely tied with cultural ceremonies because of their many functions, Tais can be used as a barter medium for wedding and funeral ceremonies. As dowry, the groom has to offer 77 (seventy seven) buffaloes while the bride has to give 10 - 15 Tais Sisirana (Mane and Feto) depending on the agreement of both parties.
Most of the sales of Tais came from foreign tourists, as Com is a popular tourist destination but nowadays the sales dropped as fewer and fewer tourist came which results in the decline of local artisan's income. Now, Tais sales are only intended for Com's cultural activities which happen seldomly.

Los Palos

Los Palos

In the city of Los Palos there is a group of 10 (ten) Tais artisan called Joanna da Costa led by Mrs. Joanna da Costa.


Name of Group : SAKA KOTA
Group leader : Mrs Joanna da Costa
Contact detail :
Members : 10 people


Raw Material

In Fataluku language, Ikat product from Lautem is called Lau Sisirana. This Ikat has stripe patterns for both male and female sarong. Three Tais handicraft centre in Municipalitiy of Lautem are in Los Patos, Tutuala and Com.
The raw materials mainly used by the artisan in Los Palos are hand spun cotton and natural coloring agent from tree roots, leaves (Nenuka, Charunu) and clay or mud.
Some considerations in using cotton as the material for Tais in the region are:
1. Retains the original pattern and color of classic Tais according to Pakem and colors that can't be produced by using commonly sold thread.
2. The ease of procuring the raw materials is also one of the main consideration, as cottons easily grow at Lautem.

Pattern & Design

The classical pattern name of Tais in this region Is almost similar to the Tais in Com region which is in Lautem City.
Tais SIKALAO: this Tais is commonly used for cultural activities (wedding ceremony, etc). The major difference between Tais Sikalao of Com and Los Palos is in its colors. Sikalu Mane (Tais for male) in Los Palos is mostly dominated by black color with red element, while no red elements are to be seen in Tais Sikalu Mane from Com.
TAIS UPU LAKUWARU: Tais Upu Lakuar from Los Palos has richer pattern compared to Tais Upu Lakuar from Com.
TAIS SISIRANA: the sanctity of this Tais is important for Los Palos citizen mainly due to its pattern and the crafting method are a heritage. Sisirana pattern are taken from patterns found in ancient caves such as horses, ships/boats, etc.
These three classic Tais also has matching patterns for male (mane) and female (feto)

"Tais Mane: This is Sica Lau's featured Tais worn by men at traditional ceremonies"

The Correlation between Tradition and Tais in Los Palos

Tais is closely tied with local custom ceremonies because it is used as the barter medium in weddings and funeral. As dowry, the groom has to offer 77 buffaloes while the bride has to give around 10 - 15 Tais Sisirana (Mane and Feto) depending on the agreement of both parties.



Tutuala is one of the municipality in Lautem region which has a solid Tais workshop centre that still retains the traditional classical pattern inherited from their ancestors. In Tutuala there is a group of Tais artisan called Mua Chau (East End) led by Mrs. Leonia de Yesus with 15 artisans.


Name of Group : MUA CHAU
Group leader : Mrs Leonia de Yesus
Contact detail :
Members : 15 people

Raw Material

The raw material used in Tutuala region mostly from hand spun cotton and natural coloring agent. The consideration in using these materials are:
1. Retain the original pattern and the color of the classical Tais that has been used by their ancestors.
2. To get certain colors that can't be produced from mass manufactured thread/yawn.
3. The ease of procuring cotton that grew in Lautem.

Pattern & Design

The pattern and the design name of classical Tais in this area is almost similar to the Tais from Los Palos but with different color and pattern.
TAIS SISIRANA is the most expensive and precious (sacred) classical Tais for Tutuala and Los Palos residents. It is considered as sacred due to its pattern and the craftsmanship that still follow the tradition. The process is sophisticated and long, from picking the cotton, spun it into a yawn, tie the yawn and color it using natural coloring agents and . The process of making one sheet of Tais Sisirana can take 2.5 - 3 months. The pattern is inspired by pattern found in ancient caves such as horses, boat etc.
TAIS UPU SIKALAU, commonly used fof custom activities such as birth, wedding and funeral.
TAIS UPU LAKUWARU, one of the classical Tais used by the locals in Tutuala and Los Palos.
The black color were the result of soaking the yawn into mud numerous times and the red color is gotten from the bark of Rokoroko tree that is commonly seen in this area.

"Tais Mane: Upulakuaru"

The Correlation between Tradition and Tais in Tutuala

Classical Tais is closely related with traditional ceremony because it is used as dowry for a series of wedding ceremony and funeral.


The condition of Dowry for the groom and the bride in Tutuala region is the same as other region in Los Palos area in Lautem. Majority of the locals still adhere to strict tradition. The groom has to give 77 buffaloes while the bride has to answer by giving 10 - 15 pair of Tais Sisirana (Mane and Feto) depending on the agreement from both parties.