What is Endek Fabrics?, the Cultural Identity of Bali

What is Balinese Endek Fabrics? – Balinese Endek is a woven textile from Bali that is traditionally used by the people of Dewata Island in their daily lives. The traditional Indonesian fabric once stole the show when it was featured in Christian Dior’s collection.

Endek comes from the word “gendekan” or “ngendek” which means still or fixed, not changing color. The Balinese Endek fabric is distinctive through its patterns, motifs, colors, and every symbol in this fabric has its own meaning.

This fabric is widely used in traditional and religious ceremonies in Bali. Certain motifs may also only be used by kings or nobles.

Some motifs that are considered sacred can only be used in religious events such as patra and encak saji motifs that show respect to God Almighty.

Motifs sourced from nature such as flora and fauna are usually used in social activities and daily activities. There are also motifs sourced from Balinese mythological puppet characters.

The parts of this fabric consist of sarong, long cloth, and shawl, the shawl part is usually used by men, while the long cloth is worn by women.

Interesting Facts about Balinese Endek Fabric

kain endek bali (source:

History and Philosophy of Balinese Endek Fabric

Endek is a Balinese ikat woven fabric. This type of fabric has some uniqueness. Endek has a variety of unique motifs from the sacred to those that reflect the nuances of nature.

Endek began to develop in 1975, during the reign of King Dalem Waturenggong in Gelgel Klungkung. Then it developed around the Klungkung area, one of which was in Sulang Village.

After Indonesia’s independence, Endek cloth grew even faster. In 1985-1995, Endek fabric grew rapidly due to the support from the government. During this time, the production process of Endek cloth already used non-machine looms (ATBM).

Then in 1996-2012, Endek cloth experienced a decline due to a lot of competition. This decline was also caused by raw materials that were difficult to obtain.

However, in 2011 Endek fabric began to grow again due to the cheapness of raw materials and began to be in demand as a material for making uniforms. Even in Bali, there has been an Endek Ambassador election to preserve this fabric.

Natural Colors of Balinese Endek Fabric

Balinese Endek is known to be a fabric that is made using the double ikat method. Endek Bali usually has a variety of motifs with flora, fauna, and landscape themes.

What makes this fabric special is that most Balinese Endek fabrics are dyed with natural colors from plants. This is a distinctive feature of this woven fabric.

Unlike batik fabrics that have rules of use, such as batik parang motifs that can only be used by the palace, Balinese Endek fabrics can be used by the general public.

However, in the past, due to its difficult production, this fabric was priced quite expensive.

Now, Endek is one of the Balinese fabrics that must be used in schools and companies on Fridays.

Endek Fabric Motifs Differ in Each Region

Endek cloth has a variety of motifs. In each region on the island of Bali, Endek cloth has its own motifs and characteristics. For example, Karangasem has the Endek Sidemen motif.

For the Nusa Penida island area, the colors used are bright colors.

“Bright green with a motif called Rangrang, the shape is like triangles (stacked),” Pitana explained.

As far as motifs are concerned, Pitana says Endek can be used for clothing, tops, bottoms, or bags, as long as the motifs are not those that are considered sacred. For example, God motifs or holy letters.

This is because some Endek motifs are considered sacred, such as the Patra and Encak Saji motifs. These motifs are only used for temple activities or other religious activities. However, these motifs are very rare to find. Craftsmen usually make them because there are special orders for display or for holy places.

The motifs of Endek fabrics have evolved over time. Nowadays, Endek is also being mixed and matched with other types of fabrics to create gorgeous outfits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *