my ikat

I bought an ikat-style silk scarf exactly like this one in Khiva in Uzbekistan for I think $12. In a moment of idle browsing I discovered it on the interweb for $32.99, which is good for a silk scarf, but it really makes me wish I’d filled an entire suitcase with the beautiful things…

Ikats look like squarish, symmetrical tie-dyed designs but are in fact traditionally hand-woven on looms. They come in all sorts of patterns and colours, usually obeying the law ‘the brighter the better’.  Throughout Uzbekistan I was told that they were the traditional style, as indeed they are, but my idle browsing has led me to discover that similar designs, also called ‘ikat’, are to be found all over Asia from the ‘stans to Bali. Apparently the term is Indonesian in origin.

Outside of the more Western-orientated Tashkent, you can see the majority of women wearing loose ikat dresses in gobsmackingly bright colours, topped off with a clashing coloured headscarf. By contrast the men generally wear greyish trousers, white shirts and black or grey skullcaps. They know they can’t possibly compete.

ikat redtrad ikat


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