Story of Bidak Galah Napuh, lost textile from Lampung

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February 24, 2013 by Ain Nisa

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The one who actually found Bidak Galah Napuh was my husband
He was on his work trip in Lampung and asking what do i want as souvenir. As usual, i asked for local textile. Knowing my specific fondness for traditional textile, he did not pick randomly. Yet he took pictures and asked me to choose (and informing the budget allowed, of course, haha)
The picturewas kinda taken from far, but my eyes were not mistaken when it directly chose blue-brown stripes fabric hung between others.
“that is beautiful” i remember saying it. My husband bought it with quite moderate price because he is such a great bargainer. Though the employee had said that the fabric was a special design of Lampung local designer.
For a while, i thought that fabric was Tapis Lampung. But when i have run out of the fabric ( i made 3 items from it: patty purse, grace totebag, and carry handbag, which they all sold out), i tried to browse google, seeing if any online sellers have it.
Results? none. It’s kinda surprising google doesn’t have any answer.
I was then more driven by curiousity than business needs. My husband them asked his colleague in Lampung the store he was brought to buy souvenirs. Then i found it.
From since i know that the fabric’s name is Bidak Galah Napuh and it was a reproduction of an almost extinct textile from Waykanan, Lampung. It is originated from ancient Waykanan culture and represent hook and key era on around 2 BC. Many sources said Raswan Tapis, the designer from whom i bought the fabric, was the only man who succeed in reproducting it, after going through 10 years of difficult process. Not many Lampung people familiar to the pattern.
The stripes represent stripes in Kancil’s neck, which was the meaning of “Galah Napuh.” And the mythical animal such as white crocodile and Hong bird, and geometrical stripes represent animism era.
He had to design the pattern that most similar to the original-which no longer exist in Waykanan, a collector in Jakarta only let him took photograph. The weaving process also uses expensive tool imported from Japan.
Knowing such a difficult process of creation, i was not surprised when the price is also high. He doesn’t have many stocks since the production took quite a long time. He even said he’s not going to produce it again for a while.
I just hope that more people in Lampung will produce Bidak Galah Napuh, so it will not be a lost textile.

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