Ikat is a style of weaving that uses a tie-dye process on either the warp or weft, before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design. A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving.
"Ikat" means "tied" or "bound" in the Malay language which describes the process. Through common usage the word has come to describe both the process and the cloth itself. Ikats have been woven in cultures all over the world. In Central and South America Ikat is still common in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. 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 ikats. India, Thailand, Japan and several South-East Asia countries have cultures with long histories of Ikat production. Double Ikats can still be found in India, Guatemala, Japan and the Indonesian island of Bali.
Like any craft or art form, ikats vary widely from country to country and region to region. Designs may have symbolic of ritual meaning or have been developed for export trade. Ikats are often symbols of status, wealth, power and prestige. Perhaps because of the difficulty and time required to make ikats, some cultures believe the cloth is imbued with magical powers.
Please note that ikats are handwoven and dyed so they often have what would be considered imperfections if they were mass-produced using high powered looms. They can have flecks of other dye colors, looped yarns and what appear to be runs. This is the inherent beauty of a completely handwoven and dyed fabric. Also, the exact dimensions of the pillow covers may vary slightly from the stated ones. The stated ones refer to the size insert that fits the covers.
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