Atayal Tribal fabric, just as persevering Atayal Tribe itself, persistently survived centuries of commotions caused by wars, Japanese colonial exploitation and the change of times, and remained its original forms and traditional techniques. From its shape, colors, patterns and materials, you can see a distinct aesthetic style of Atayal People. And its ultimate purpose is to be used to make clothes. Traditional Atayal costumes are either hand-sewed clothes or ready-made draperies for daily, work and formal or ceremony occasions.

 
 
 
 
 
   
   
 

Atayal's loom is generally called as Horizontal Strapped Waist Loom, because, when in operation, its warp surface is on a parallel level with the ground, and its fabric tension is maintained by the weaver who straps one end of the loom on her waist and pushes the weaving box at the other end of the loom with her legs. Atayal loom has a simple structure, consisting of a weaving box, a retainer, a warp separator, a heddle rod, a picker rod, a beat-up bar, a weft shuttle, a holder, and a waist strap, but can provide such basic weaving functions as shedding, weft filling, and weft tightening, and, in the end, a fabric or cloth exactly as its weaver's design. Atayal people can readily find suitable materials for each component in an Atayal loom in nearby surroundings. The task of making an Atayal loom is usually shouldered by the father or brother in a family, and, sometimes, commissioned to someone in the tribe who has extraordinary handcraftsmanship. Just like the preparation of hunting equipments, there are some taboos in making an Atayal loom. For example, if an loom is broken down, it has to be repaired by the man who made it. Or, in other words, an Atayal loom should never go through the hands of any man other than its original producer. Otherwise, he who repaired it would be cursed with foot diseases for his offending action. These taboos, however, do not cover looms that falling into disuse. Any one can use a disused loom as material for a new loom. Atayal women sometimes would rather make some small components of the loom with their own hands, such as shuttles, piker rods, separator rods, heddle rods, etc. Though presenting a simple look, Atayal loom components are produced by Atayal men with great care on many technique details. Atayal people always select different materials for different component according to its function, and make use of the special shape of natural materials and endow them with special functions.

Introduction of Looms (MP4-movie)

 

The Structure of Horizontal Strapped Waist Loom

Weaving Box
Size
Loom size varies with weaver ' s requirements and tribal habits. It could be 90cm long for big looms, or 60cm long for smaller looms. Generally, loom maker would produce a loom according to a weaver ' s size.
Materials
Camphor wood, beech wood, Taiwan michelia and similar hard wood.

 

Retainer
Size
Its diameter varies in the range of 0.6cm -1.3cm . Its length is determined based on cloth breadth to be woven. Generally, a set of retainers of different length are produced for different requirements.
Materials
Straight arrow bamboo having long space between two knots is the best choice.

 

Warp Separator
Size

Its length is determined according to the requirements of fabric to be woven. Generally speaking, smaller ones are 35cm long, and bigger ones are 50cm long.

Materials
Arrow bamboo, wood.

 

Heddle Rod
Size
Its length is around 35cm or decided according to designed fabric breadth.
Materials
Wood, arrow bamboo.

 

Picker Rod
Size
Its size is determined according to actual fabric breadth.
Materials
Makino bamboo, wood.

 

Beat-up Bar
Size
Its upper edge is thicker than lower edge. Its length is about 60cm . Its breadth is about 5 -6cm . It is made as a whole piece.
Materials
Hard wood.

 

Weft Shuttle
Size
Its length varies between 30cm and 40cm . Its breadth is about 30cm .
Materials
Wood, bamboo.

 

Holder
Size
It has projected edges and sunken sloth for clamping cloth tightly. Its length is determined according to actual needs, generally varying from 50cm to 60cm .
Materials
Camphor wood, beech wood, Taiwan michelia and similar hard wood.

 

Strap
Size
It ' s woven with rattan or ramie . Its length is about 50cm , and width, 50cm . Tying strips are determined according the weaver ' s actual needs.
Materials
Ramie, Fibraurea

 


   
 
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