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Wastra Sasirangan: Natural Dyes to Preserve the Environment.

Updated: Mar 22



Wastra are traditional Indonesian fabrics. And Wastra together with other traditional fabric have now penetrated the world of fashion, including Endek, a woven fabric from Bali, which is usually dominated by bright colours, such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. These woven fabrics have been widely discussed by world fashion observers, because they were included in the Spring and Summer 2021 collection of famous fashion designer Christian Dior at the 2020 Paris Fashion Week fashion show.

 

One of the Wastra that is not widely known is the Wastra Sasirangan, which for the Banjar tribe in South Kalimantan, is a traditional cloth and is a cultural combination of native tribes, such as Dayak (Maanyan, Lawangan, Ukit and Ngaju) with immigrant tribes from Malay and Java. So Wastra Sasirangan is unique.

 

Sasirangan cloth is obtained from a dyeing process using material such as rope, thread or the like, according to certain patterns and motifs. The word sasirangan comes from "menyirang" which means to stretch because this cloth is made by stretching.


The Meanings Behind Sasirangan Cloth

The colors attached to the sasirangan cloth have a special meaning. Yellow is a symbolic sign that the wearer is in the process of treating jaundice (kana wisa). Other colours, namely red, are associated with headaches and difficulty sleeping; green is associated with stroke; black is associated with fever and itchy skin; purple is associated with stomach ailments (diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera); and chocolate is linked to mental illness.

 

There are various sasirangan cloth motifs. The commonly known ones are iris pudak (sliced ​​pudak leaves), kambang Kacang (long bean flowers), bayam raja (spinach leaves), kulat karikit (small mushrooms), ombak sinapur karang (waves crashing on coral rocks), Bintang Bahambur (stars scattered across the sky), sarigading, kulit pohon (bark), naga balimbur (dragon snake), jajumputan (jumputan), turun dayang (stripes), kambang tampuk manggis (mangosteen fruit flower), daun jaruju (leaves of the jeruju plant), and kangkung kaombakan ( kale leaves).




Sasirangan Uses Environmentally Friendly Natural Dyes

The principle of sasirangan dyeing is not much different from the natural colouring of batik cloth. To produce natural colours, you can use waste, plants or other mineral sources.

 

The waste in question includes fruit peels. Call it like secang skins to produce a purple colour. Then rambutan skins to produce brown colour and onion skins for yellow colour.

 

Or use wood waste such as ironwood powder to produce a dark brown colour. The next group is dyes from plants. Such as teak leaves for red, indigofera leaves for blue, and ketapang leaves for cream.

 

Meanwhile, another yellow colour can also be obtained from turmeric powder. If you want orange, craftsmen usually use lipstick. Tingi tree bark can also be used to produce a slightly orange red colour and mahogany tree bark for a brown colour.

 

To produce certain colours, the ingredients above can also be combined. For example, turmeric yellow and indigofera blue to produce green.

 

Other ingredients can also be taken from natural minerals. Such as lime, alum or tunjung. Its function is to lock the colour of the previous ingredients.

 

The advantage of sasirangan colours using natural materials is that they are usually softer, calmer, and not as sharp as synthetic coloured fabrics.

 

Fabric colours that use natural dyes will produce more subtle colours and will be more popular with buyers from abroad. Because foreign tourists prefer environmentally friendly products.

 

So using natural dyes, apart from being environmentally friendly, can also be a good business opportunity.

 


Sasirangan protects peatlands

In Teluk Karya Village there are several tailors who only knit cloth. Then, the idea arose to make dyes.

 

Initially, these tailors did not understand about the peatlands in their village. After attending the training they gained an understanding of fabric and also an understanding of peatlands.

 

They began to learn that peat plants could be used as natural dyes.

 

On 111.90 hectares of land in Teluk Karya Village, Lampihong District, they obtained and introduced a number of plants as raw materials for natural dyes for typical sasirangan cloth. By using it as a natural dye, plants in peatlands will be better protected. Peat plants are maintained while maintaining a sustainable supply of natural dyes.

 

One of the natural dyes in peatlands is the bangkal tree, which grows wild. Other typical peat plants, such as galam, can also be used as natural dyes.

 

Not only that, with the making of Sasirangan Cloth, the community also joined in taking part in cloth making training. From there, those who have been trained to make cloth will be given wages for each cloth made depending on the motif.

 

So, the activity of making Sasirangan Cloth brings great benefits to the Community and the Environment.



Traditional and modern

In accordance with the times, sasirangan cloth has now become an everyday clothing material. It's beautiful and charming when people wear it. Various groups, such as home businesses, MSMEs, and the South Kalimantan provincial government, continue to introduce clothing made from sasirangan cloth to various regions. In South Kalimantan, sasirangan cloth has become the official clothing for civil servants and students.

 

As a typical South Kalimantan souvenir, sasirangan cloth is often found in Sasirangan Village on Jalan Seberang Mosque, Banjarmasin. For a long time, this village has been a tourist destination as well as a cloth production center. The process of making sasirangan cloth can also be seen in Sasirangan Village. Now apart from direct marketing of sasirangan cloth is also done online, people can choose and buy without leaving the house.

 

Initially, sasirangan cloth used basic materials from cotton thread or tree bark fiber. As technology advances, sasirangan is made from silk, satin, santung, calico, kaci, polyster, and even rayon.

 

Currently, sasirangan cloth has three functions, namely as a ritual cloth,a  traditional cloth and a modern cloth. For example, the sari ivory motif has a ritual function and means power and dignity, the jeruju leaf motif has a traditional function and means avoiding disaster and calamity, and the jajumputan motif has a modern function and means a cultural cross with Java.

 

The current trend of globalization of fashion is eroding and changing the function of sasirangan cloth. Sacred and traditional values ​​have changed so that anything can be made from sasirangan cloth, such as curtains, tablecloths, bed sheets, handkerchiefs, ecoprints, headscarves, mukenas. Traditional meanings may be lost but the cottage industries are growing.

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