In Bali, textiles are much more than just cloths from which garments are made. Beginning with the yarn and the woven cloth, they are a medium through which the divine nature of the universe and its material manifestations are recognized and expressed. To preserve the tradition and push for production and quality enhancement in line with market demands, the Bali provincial administration is drawing up a bylaw on the protection of local traditional fabric.
Bali Industrial and Trade Office head Ni Wayan Kusumawathi said that her office, in cooperation with academics at Udayana University, was drafting a bylaw on Balinese traditional-fabric protection. The draft had been preceded by the identification of traditional Balinese textiles.
The traditional textile is included as a cultural and traditional expression determined by intellectual property rights (HKI), alongside dances, traditional architecture, paintings and folklore. Traditional Balinese textiles include endek and songket.
They will include mapping of traditional cloth-weaving industrial centers and the distinction between motifs in each regency or city. This is the basis for formulating the regulation. All parties are invited to play an active role in the preservation and future development of the traditional fabrics.
Kusumawathi said that protection would not be limited to the importance of registering the HKI, but also include preservation and sustainable use.
Traditional Balinese fabric production had been carried out through the generations and was once on the verge of extinction. Craftspeople could only be found among the elderly. This is attributed to the restricted use of such fabrics, which were only worn during traditional or religious rites.
Kusumawathi said that they will make all efforts to protect production legally, including the importance of registering intellectual property rights and gradually assist in its facilitation. But equally important is how production can continue
The passage of the bylaw will be followed up with a gubernatorial decree on wider use of the fabric, especially within governmental, educational and financial institutions, as well as the hotel industry.
Kusumawathi emphasized that certain textile motifs, which are currently only used for traditional and religious rituals, would be maintained. Training and counseling will be provided to craftspeople, especially on which motifs can be used by the general public, designs sought after by the market and quality standards so they are able to compete with products from other provinces and countries.
The plan to have bylaw for traditional cloth protection was welcomed by Wayan Sukerta, leader of the Winangun Asri weaving group in Pejukutan village. He claimed that craftspeople still needed guidance and assistance to improve product competitiveness, with promotion and marketing being equally important.
The ordinance is expected to be passed this year and to act as a stimulant in the development of the fabric and as in preparation for global market competition.
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