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Ikat, or Ikkat, is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft fibres. Bindings, which resist dye penetration, are applied to the threads in the desired patterns and the threads are dyed. Alteration of the bindings and the dyeing of more than one color produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When all of the dyeing is finished the bindings are removed and the threads are ready to be woven into cloth. The defining characteristic of ikat is the dyeing of patterns, by means of bindings, into the threads before cloth construction, the weaving of the fabric, takes place. Herein lies the difference between ikat and tie-dye. In tie-dye the fabric is woven first and the resist bindings are then applied to the fabric which is dyed. In warp ikat the patterns are clearly visible in the warp threads on the loom even before the plain colored weft is introduced to produce the fabric. In weft ikat it is the weaving or weft thread that carries the dyed patterns which only appear as the weaving proceeds. In weft ikat the weaving proceeds much slower than in warp ikat as the pass
Distribution Ikat is a near universal weaving style common to many world cultures. Likely, it is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration.In the 19th century, the Silk Road desert oases of Bukhara and Samarkand (in what is now Uzbekistan in Central Asia) were famous for their fine silk Uzbek ikat.Ikat weaving styles vary widely. Many design motifs may have ethnic, ritual or symbolic meaning or have been developed for export trade. Traditionally, ikat are symbols of status, wealth, power and prestige. Because of the time and skill involved in weaving ikat, some cultures believe the cloth is imbued with magical powers.
The history of ikat As woven fabric rarely survives for more than a few centuries it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determine where the technique of ikat originated. It probably developed in several different locations independently.
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