Ikat, sometimes referred to as ikkat, is not as much a rug as it is a specific dying technique used for rugs. While this dyeing technique can be used for a variety of textiles, rugs are one of the most common pieces to feature this type of unique dyeing.
What is Ikat Dying?
Ikat rugs use the technique of resist dyeing, almost like a sophisticated type of tie dye. Ikat, which is pronounced “ee-KAHT,” is born from the Malaysian term “mengikat,” or “to tie.” In order to achieve the Ikat look, the materials used to weave the rug are tied together in small bundles with grass or waxed cotton threads. The individual weaving the rug then has to determine where on the bundles to place the dye, keeping in mind how the materials will be used in the final rug. This can be quite a task when you consider many of the complex designs seen in Ikat rugs.
Uses for Ikat Rugs
Ikat rugs were traditionally used as prayer rugs and textiles using the same dyeing technique were used as burial shrouds. Today, Ikat rugs can be displayed in the home as any traditional Oriental rug would – either as a statement piece on the floor or even on the wall as a unique tapestry. Because the resist dyeing technique used to create complex patterns in these rugs is so involved, the cost of a genuine, high-quality Ikat rug can be on the higher end. However, genuine Ikat rugs are highly prized and are often handed down from generation to generation.
Where to Find Ikat Rugs
At the Rug Gallery, we have a wide variety of Oriental rugs to choose from and can help you find the perfect Ikat rug you’re looking for. Contact us today.