Hanging by a Thread: Natural Metallic Mordant Processes in Traditional Indonesian Textiles1 ANTHONY B. CUNNINGHAM*,2,3, I. MADE MADUARTA4, JEAN HOWE5, W. INGRAM5, AND STEVEN JANSEN6 2 School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia People and Plants International, Fremantle, Australia 4 Yayasan Pecinta Budaya Bebali, Bali, Indonesia 5 Threads of Life: Indonesian Textile Arts Center, Bali, Indonesia 6 Institute for Systematic Botany and Ecology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany *Corresponding author; e-mail: [email protected] 3 Hanging by a Thread: Natural Metallic Mordant Processes in Traditional Indonesian Textiles. Despite the availability of synthetic dyes and the impact of signiﬁcant religious, social, and economic change, textile weavers in more remote areas of Indonesia continue naturally dyed textile production as a living tradition. This paper documents mordant plants in Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, and nine islands in eastern Indonesia (Bali, Flores, Java, Lembata, Nusa Penida, Rai Jua, Savu, Sumba, and West Timor). These plants, such as various Symplocos species, are hyperaccumulators of aluminum compounds. Other plants used as sources of alkaline ash, of saponiﬁable oils and fats and for ritual purposes in the dyeing process, are also recorded. Di Ambang Kepunahan: proses mordan dengan menggunakan logam dari tumbuhan dalam pembuatan kain tradisional di Indonesia. Ditengah maraknya pemakaian warna sintetis serta terjadinya perubahan dalam keyakinan, keadaan sosial dan ekonomi, penenun di beberapa daerah terpencil tetap memproduksi kain warna alam sebagai sebuah tradisi. Jurnal ini membahas tumbuhan mordant atau perekat warna serta tantangan yang dihadapi dalam pemakaiannya di daerah Sulawesi dan Kalimantan serta di sembilan pulau lain di Indonesia mencakup Bali, Flores, Jawa, Lembata, Nusa Penida, Rai Jua, Sabu, Sumba dan Timor Barat. Tumbuhan mordant yang dibahas, seperti Symplocos, menganndung zat aluminum yang tinggi. Tumbuhan lain yang dipergunakan sebagai sumber abu alkali, minyak dan lemak saponiﬁable, serta yang dipakai dalam ritual proses mordant juga dibahas dalam artikel ini. Key Words: Natural mordants, oil seeds, Symplocos. Introduction Mordants (from the old French mordre [“to bite”]) are metallic compounds forming stable chemical bonds needed to ﬁx dye to textile threads. Mordants are crucial to the dye process, ensuring that textiles are colorfast. Centuries before the development of modern analytical 1 Received 20 October 2009; accepted 15 May 2011; published online ___________. chemistry, textiles dyers in South and Southeast Asia were selecting plants that hyperaccumulate aluminum (Al) for use as mordants (Mohanty et al. 1987; this study). Al hyperaccumulation is now known to be a primitive trait limited to particular plant taxa (Jansen et al. 2002, 2004). In Europe, Al–accumulating club mosses were used as mordants (Ferreira et al. 2004), but plant use for mordants is not universal. In Peru, for example, no plants are recorded for use as mordants; instead, alum from natural deposits is Economic Botany, XX(X), 2011, pp. 1–19. © 2011, by The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY 10458-5126 U.S.A. ECONOMIC BOTANY used (Antùnez de Mayolo 1989). Similarly, in Sierra Leone, West Africa, no mordant plants were recorded by MacFoy (2004), although this may be due to mordant species being overlooked, as we discuss later. Over 260 years ago, Rumphius (1743) recorded local ethnobotanical knowledge of the “alum tree” (aluyn boom or arbor aluminosa, later identiﬁed as Symplocos) used by Indonesian textile producers. This drew the attention of European scientists to Al hyperaccumulation in plants for the ﬁrst time. Despite early Dutch studies and extensive academic work on Indonesian textiles (Hamilton 1994; Maxwell 1990), mordant plants in Indonesia have not been well documented even in otherwise thorough descriptions of dye processes (Kajitani 1979). By contrast, plants used for dyes and tannins are relatively well documented in Southeast Asia (Burkill 2002; Lemmens and Wulijarni–Soetjipto 1992). This study focused on the following questions: (1) Which plant species are used in natural metallic mordanting processes in Indonesia? (2) What roles do different plant species play in these processes? and (3) Why are certain plants selected for use? Methods In this study, we worked in four participatory ways with cotton textile producers. First, local [VOL perceptions of priority species in terms of importance and availability were assessed in a process of free listing plant species used in textile production, followed by participatory methods (Martin 1995). This priority setting was done among a network of weavers and dyers during two Nusantara Weavers’ Festivals, one on Lembata (2005 with 94 people) and the other in West Timor (2006, with 98 people). As weavers from 14 language groups on nine islands were represented, we introduced the aims of our research and were given a mandate from weavers for further research. Second, we worked with weavers to collect plant specimens and information on the use of mordant plants. This included ethnobotanical work between 2005 and 2010 with a Dayak community near Sintang, West Kalimantan (294 women); Sumbanese weavers from Rindi, East Sumba (10 women); Lio weavers from Onelako, Flores (22 women); other weavers from across Flores (96 people); on Savu (54 women); and Savunese weavers on the adjacent small island, Rai Jua (10 women) (Fig. 1). Plant specimens were sent to the Bogor Herbarium and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG) for identiﬁcation, with additional vouchers held at the Yayasan Pecinta Budaya Bebali (YPBB). Analyses of Al content of seeds and leaves were assessed using the method Fig. 1. Map showing study sites and the number of species of the major mordant plant genus, Symplocos, in each island or island group, with the number of endemic species shown in brackets (modiﬁed from Nooteboom 1975). 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES developed by Chenery (1946, 1948). Small amounts (about 100 g) of crushed plant material were mixed in a test tube with 1 ml of an “aluminon” solution. This solution contained 0.75 g ammonium aurine tricarboxylate, 200 g ammonium acetate, 15 g gum arabic, and 189 ml concentrated hydrochloric acid. All chemicals were dissolved separately, mixed, and distilled water was added to make up 1,500 ml of solution. The test tube was then heated and held at 100°C for 5 to 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Al accumulators can easily be distinguished from non–accumulators by a characteristic change of the pinkish “aluminon” solution, which becomes dark red to crimson when Al levels are higher than 1,000 ppm (Jansen et al. 2003). Third, during the second Weavers Festival, we produced a poster showing Symplocos. Copies of the poster were distributed to 30 weaving groups, as many weavers had never seen Symplocos trees. The poster resulted in reports of Symplocos trees from localities previously unknown to formally trained botanists. Finally, by working in an inter–disciplinary team, we combined knowledge of ethnobotany, plant chemistry, and experiments in the YPBB dye studio to gain a better understanding of mordant plant processes. Results and Discussion PLANT SPECIES USE IN THE PROCESS OF MORDANTING COTTON Across many cultures, traditional cotton textile dye processes demonstrate local people’s sophisticated knowledge of natural product chemistry. Every traditional textile is the result of this knowledge, combining the skills required for tying, mordanting, and dyeing cotton prior to weaving. Although there is variation in ritual processes and in species used, natural mordant processes observed in weaving communities across Indonesia generally have six steps in common. Step One. Cotton threads prepared for textile weaving are soaked in a mix of water and wood ash. Preferred species for this ash include Sterculia foetida L. (fruit shells) and Ixora coccinea L., Schleichera oleosa Merr. or Tamarindus indica L. (wood), though any wood ash will sufﬁce. This alkaline lye scours the cotton threads, removing dirt and waxes as well as opening the threads for water wetting. The threads are then dried. Step Two. Oil from seeds of selected plant species is added to a bath of wood ash lye (Table 1). This saponiﬁcation step is the ﬁrst of two stages where mordant plants may be added. In eastern Indonesia, the most commonly available oil is from Aleurites moluccana L. (Willd.) seeds, although use of seed oils from Pangium edule Reinw., Schleichera oleosa, and Sterculia foetida seeds is also widespread (Table 2). In Ende (Central Flores), the process of crushing A. moluccana seeds to produce oil is called nggapi feo. During the oiling stage of the threads called pusi mina, bits of organ–pipe coral (Tubipora musica L., locally known as watu waka) are used. Dayak weavers in Kalimantan perform the most complex oiling process studied during the ngaos ceremony. Oils are obtained from multiple sources: Rancid coconut, oil seeds from trees in the Achariaceae (Hydnocarpus and Pangium edule), the Cardiopteridaceae (Gonocaryum calleryanum Baill. [Becc.]), the Euphorbiaceae (Aporosa species, Elateriospermum tapos Blume), the Santalaceae (Scleropyrum wallichianum Arn.), and three members of the Cucurbitaceae (the rainforest climber Hodgsonia macrocarpa Cogn. and two cultivated species, Cucumis sativus L. and Lagenaria leucantha Rusby). In addition to these seed oils, small amounts of fat from ritually important animals are used: Monitor lizards (Varanus species), fresh– water turtles (Amyda cartilaginea), chickens, ﬁsh (Ophiocephalus micropeltoes), and snakes. According to one Dayak weaver, crocodile fat was used in the past, but was generally avoided due to its extreme ritual potency. Step Three. The cotton threads are repeatedly soaked in the oil–water mix. In many cases, textile weavers mix fresh leaves or whole plants (Table 2) with the seed oils (Table 1). As we later discuss, enzymes in these plants probably cause lipolysis and inter–esteriﬁcation of seed oil fatty acids. These enzymatic processes work within a narrow temperature range—a reason why oiling is a cool process. Some weavers also add bark to this mix. In the Ayotopas Amanatun area of West Timor, for example, bark from Casuarina junghuhniana Miq. (Casuarinaceae) or if this is not available, hau niko (a Trema species (IMM A41), Ulmaceae) is added. Step Four. The cotton threads are dried. The unsaturated fatty acids from the drying oils Damar (IA) Gamas (Ib) Kenuling (Ib) Elateriospermum tapos (W) Jatropha curcas (D, I) Cocos nucifera (D, I) Scleropyrum wallichianum (W) Schleichera oleosa (W) Palmae Santalaceae Sapindaceae Kesambi (In) Kelampai (Ib) Largenaria leucantha (I) Aleurites moluccana (D) Perenggi (Ib), Labu air (In), Karobu (Kam), Labu lente (Mad), Labu ayer, (J), kukuk, (Su), Sambiki (Ma), frangi (Mal) Feo (Li), fenu (U), gelo (S), kawallu, kawilu (Kam) kemiri (In), tingkih (B) Gonocaryum calleryanum (W) Cucumis sativus (D) Hodgsonia macrocarpa (W) Cardiopteridaceae Cucurbitaceae Euphorbiaceae Gaos (Ib) Mentimun, entimun (Ib) Tengka (Ib) Canarium vulgare (W) Burseraceae Dangkuk (Ib) Kepayang (Ib), Palliak (K), kluwak (In) Kenari (In) Hydnocarpus (W) Pangium edule (D, W) Local Name(s)a Seed Seed Rancid endosperm Seed Seed Seed Seed Seed Seed Seed Seed Seed Seed Part used Bali (Nusa Penida), East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi), Lembata (Ile Ape, Wulondoni), West Timor (Amarasi, Belu) Lembata (Ile Ape) West Kalimantan (Sintang) West Kalimantan (Sintang) Bali (Nusa Penida), Central Flores (Ende), East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi), Flores (Maumere), Lembata (Ile Ape, Wulondoni), West Sulawesi (Kalumpang), West Timor (Amarasi, Belu) West Kalimantan (Sintang) West Kalimantan (Sintang) West Kalimantan (Sintang) Borneo (Iban)c, West Kalimantan (Sintang), West Sulawesi (Kalumpang) Flores. Although recorded by Koji (2002) we have not observed the use of this seed oil in 10 years of ﬁeldwork. West Kalimantan West Kalimantan (Sintang) West Kalimantan (Sintang) Location(s)b SPECIES RECORDED AS SOURCE OF SEED OILS USED BY TEXTILE WEAVERS IN INDONESIA. Achariaceae Family Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 1. PLANT (Continued) IMM 35, RBG IMM 32, RBG IMM 34, RBG Voucher # ECONOMIC BOTANY [VOL a Savu, East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi), Flores (Maumere), Lembata (Ile Ape, Wulondoni), West Timor (Amarasi, Belu) Seed Sterculia foetida (W) Sterculiaceae Nitas (In) Location(s)b Part used Family Local Name(s)a Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 1. (CONTINUED). (A Amarasi, Am Ambonese, B Bali, Ib Iban, IA Ile Ape, In Indonesian, J Javanese, K Kalumpang, Kam Kambera, Ke Ke’o, L Lamalera, Li Li’o, Ma Manado, Mad Madura, Mal Melayu, Ng Ngad’a, Sa Savu, S Sikka, Su Sunda, U Uab Meto). b Bali: Bedugul, Nusa Penida (Balinese), Flores: Ende (Li’o), Bajawa (Ngad’a), Maumere (Sikka), Nangapanda (Ke’o), Detukeli (Li’o); Lembata: Wulondoni (Lamalera), Ile Ape (Ile Ape); West Sulawesi: Kalumpang (Kalumpang), Sumba: Wangameti, Rindi, Parailiu (Kambera); West Kalimantan: Sintang (Iban), (West Timor: Amarasi (Amarasi), Belu, Boti (Uab Meto). c Christensen (2002); Gavin (2004). CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES Voucher # 2011] present in seeds used (Table 1) combine with oxygen to form an elastic layer around the cotton ﬁber when the oiled threads are laid out to dry. Excess oil removal is very important; otherwise the red dye process fails. This is similar to the use of sulfonated castor oil or olive oil in 19th and early 20th century processes to produce “Turkey Red” for use in dyeing with alizarin from Rubia tinctorum L. (Jacobs 1881). Step Five. Root bark from Morinda citrifolia (or from a range of Morinda ethnospecies) is pounded and squeezed into water, forming an anthraquinone–rich dye bath. Leaves or bark from mordant plants are then added (Table 3). Plant species in three families are recorded being used, with use of Symplocaceae the most widespread (Table 3). Use of some Euphorbiaceae (Aporosa and Baccaurea species) was probably more widespread in the past, continuing in Bali and Kalimantan today, while use of bark from Xanthophyllum species as a mordant is limited to Kalimantan. Also restricted to Borneo is the use of Al–rich seeds from plants in four plant families (Scleropyrum wallichianum [Santalaceae]), Hydnocarpus sp [Achariaceae] [IMM 41], Elateriospermum tapos [Euphorbiaceae], and Hodgsonia macrocarpa [Cucurbitaceae]). Use of Aporosa, Baccaurea, Hydnocarpus, and Xanthophyllum bark in addition to Al containing seeds may also be the reason why Al–rich leaves of the Symplocos (emarik), while locally available, were traditionally not used in Kalimantan. Gonocaryum calleryanum (Cardiopteridaceae) seed oil is also used in Borneo, but when we tested the seeds, they did not contain aluminum. In the Maumere area of Flores, bark from rawamatan (Gomphandra mappioides Valeton (Stemonuraceae) (IMM 60) is also added, but the Al content of this bark is currently unknown. In Boti, West Timor, two possible mordant sources are tree “ethno–species” closely related in local folk taxonomy (nobah noo mutu and nobah noo naek). These are respectively from genera in two different plant families: The Rutaceae (Glycosmis sp.) and Meliaceae (Aglaia sp.). These are not included in Table 3, because, based on independent mordanting processes conducted by one of our team (IMM)—a Balinese expert dyer, we are uncertain whether they truly are mordants. We suggest that an additional mordant, undisclosed by local dyers, may be used as well. Talim Baun (S) Mat Bisra (U) Tatook (U), wannga kuli, wangga kulu, (Kam), wunu kole (Li), widuri, biduri (D) Hau Manus, Besese (Dawan) Parsonsia species (W) Tabernaemontana Calotropis gigantea (I) Apocynaceae Leea indica (W) Leeaceae Neoscortechinia sp. (W) Hyptis suaveolens (I) Hau Absa (U) Macaranga sp. (W) Euphorbiaceae Lamiaceae Bnafu (U) Carica papaya (D, I) Momordica charantia (W) Scabiosa sp. (D, W) Caricaceae Cucurbitaceae Dipsacaceae Hau Mewa (U) Rubare’e (Li) Padu (S) Waripaita (Kam) Mbulung Kauku (Kam) Bia Luken (U) Ilex species (W) Aquifoliaceae Meke’ Taki (Li) Achyranthes Amaranthaceae Local Name(s)a Family Flower, Leaf, stem Leaf Leaf Leaf Leaf Leaf and stems Root Leaf Leaf Leaf Leaf and stems Whole plant Part(s) Used Crushed leaves mixed in with A. moluccana during the oiling process (sese may be the name of a person) (R Koro) Mixed with A. moluccana seed oil Mixed with A. moluccana seed oil Used with A. moluccana seed oil. In Timor also used in the indigo process Crushed leaves mixed in with A. moluccana seed oil during the oiling process Crushed leaves mixed in with A. moluccana oil during the oiling process Mixed with A. moluccana or S. oleosa oil Crushed leaves mixed with A. moluccana oil during the oiling process Leaves chopped up and mixed with seed oil. Mixed with A. moluccana oil. Mixed with pre prepared oil of (Aleurites moluccana) and (Schleichera oleosa) Mixed with A. moluccana seed oil Use West Timor (Belu) Central Flores (Ende) West Timor (Belu and Looneke) Flores (Maumere) East Sumba (Rindi) East Sumba (Rindi), West Timor (Bokong) West Timor (Amarasi) West Timor (Amarasi) East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi) West Timor (Belu) Flores (Maumere) Central Flores (Ende) Location(s)b SPECIES MIXED WITH THE SEED OILS USED TO COAT COTTON THREADS. Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 2. PLANT (Continued) IMM 28, RBG IMM 66, RBG IMM 64, RBG Kadati 13 IMM 61 WDK 006/ IMM A42 RBG IMM 90, RBG IMM 85, RBG IMM 30 Voucher # ECONOMIC BOTANY [VOL Scleropyrum species (W) Capsicum annuum (D) Datura fastuosa (D, I) Oleaceae Santalaceae Solanaceae Uat Ninka (U) Mahang (L) Ngadembo (Li) Bark Root Fruit Leaf Leaf Leaf, stem Leaf Part(s) Used Mixed with A. moluccana seed oil Mixed with A. moluccana seed oil Mixed with Aleurites moluccana or Schleichera oleosa oil Mixed with A. moluccana or S. oleosa oil Crushed leaves mixed in with A. moluccana seed oil Crushed leaves mixed in with A. moluccana oil during the oiling process Mixed with pre prepared oil of A. moluccana or S. oleosa Use Central Flores (Ende), West Sulawesi (Kalumpang) East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi) East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi) Lembata (Wulondoni) West Timor (Belu) Central Flores (Ende) Central Flores (Ende) Location(s)b IMM 67, RBG IMM 77, RBG IMM 29, RBG Voucher # (A Amarasi, Am Ambonese, B Bali, Ib Iban, IA Ile Ape, In Indonesian, J Javanese, K Kalumpang, Kam Kambera, Ke Ke’o, L Lamalera, Li Li’o, Ng Ngad’a, Sa Savu, S Sikka, Su Sunda, U Uab Meto). b Bali: Bedugul, Nusa Penida (Balinese), Flores: Ende (Li’o), Bajawa (Ngad’a), Maumere (Sikka), Nangapanda (Ke’o), Detukeli (Li’o); Lembata: Wulondoni (Lamalera), Ile Ape (Ile Ape); West Sulawesi: Kalumpang (Kalumpang), Sumba: Wangameti, Rindi, Parailiu (Kambera); West Kalimantan: Sintang (Iban), (West Timor: Amarasi (Amarasi), Belu, Boti (Uab Meto). a Sterculia foetida (W) Walabunggur (Kam), Kecubung (In) Ronggu (Kam) Jasminum sp. (W) Moraceae Sterculiaceae Cabe (In), Koro (Li) Fatoua pilosa Gaud, Lythraceae Laka Toba (Li) Lawsonia inermis (D, I) Family Local Name(s)a Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 2. (CONTINUED). 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES Symplocaceae Euphorbiaceae Family Lobha wawi (Ke) Luaba (Kam) Symplocos sp. (W) Symplocos sp. (W) Symplocos odoratissima (W) Symplocos fasiculata (W) Lai (Ng)e, lait (Kepo, Waerana, Razong, Rembang)e, lobha wawi (Li), luaba we (Kam), Berih (J), hafu-hafu (Simalur??)c, jirakf, jirak sasah (Su)c, jirek, jirek prit, jirek wulu (J)c Jirak, jirak sapi, sasah (Sudanese), kandueng (Sumatra) Loba manu (Ke) Symplocos cochinchinensis var. cochinchinensis (W) Symplocos cochinchinensis var leptophyllad (W) Symplocos cochinchinensis var. lucidac (W) Symplocos cochinchinensis var phillippinesis (W) Emarik (Ib) Jangau tebalang (Ib) Jangau bara (Ib) Kepundung (B), menteng (J)c Rukam hutan (In) Local Name(s)a Bark Leaf, bark, used in Batik industry Leaf Bark Leaf, bark, used in Batik industry Leaf (Detukeli), Bark (Wangameti) Leaf Leaf, bark, used in Batik industry Leaf, bark, used in batik industry Traditionally not used Inner bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Inner bark Bark Part(s) Used & comments Central Flores (Nangapanda) East Sumba (Tanarara) West Java, Central Java, Central Flores (Detukeli), East Sumba (Wangameti) Central Flores (Nangapanda) West Kalimantan (Sintang) Java Borneo (Iban) West Kalimantan (Sintang) West Kalimantan (Sintang) Bali (Tenganan) Sarawak, Borneo (Iban) Borneo (Iban) Java Location(s)b SPECIES RECORDED AS SOURCES OF NATURAL MORDANTS USED BY TEXTILE PRODUCERS. Symplocos cochinchinensis (W) Symplocos adenophylla Aporusa nitida (W) Aporusa species Aporusa species (W) Baccaurea racemosa (D, W) Aporusa basilanensis (W) Aporusa confusa (W) Aporusa frutescens (D) Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 3. PLANT IMM 4, RBG (Continued) IMM 74, RBG Gavin (2004), Heyne (1987) IMM 24, IMM 6, RBG IMM 23, RBG Burkill (2002) IMM 33, RBG Christensen (2002) Christensen (2002) Lemmens and Wulijarni–Soetjipto (1992), Gavin (2004) Christensen (2002) IMM 37, RBG IMM 40, RBG IMM 21 Voucher number or reference ECONOMIC BOTANY [VOL sp. (W) sp. (W) sp. (from Alor) (W) sp. (W) sp. (W) sp. (W) spicata (W) Xanthophyllum lanceatum? (W) Symplocos Symplocos Symplocos Symplocos Symplocos Symplocos Symplocos Lobha wawi (Ng) Lobha manu (Ng) Kokaw (IA) Laulolo, romlolo (L) Empag (B) Leha (Am) Jirak, jirak sasah (Su), jirek (J) Jangau upak (Ib) Local Name(s)a Bark Leaf Leaf Bark Leaf Leaf Leaf, bark Bark Part(s) Used & comments West Kalimantan (Sintang) Flores (Bajawa) Flores (Bajawa) Lembata (Ile Ape) Lembata (Wulandoni) West Bali (Bedugul) Ambon Java Location(s)b IMM 36, RBG IMM 76, RBG IMM 73, RBG Heyne (1987) Heyne (1987) IMM 48, RBG IMM 49 Voucher number or reference (A Amarasi, Am Ambonese, B Bali, Ib Iban, IA Ile Ape, In Indonesian, J Javanese, K Kalumpang, Kam Kambera, Ke Ke’o, L Lamalera, Li Li’o, Ng Ngad’a, Sa Savu, S Sikka, Su Sunda, U Uab Meto). b Bali: Bedugul, Nusa Penida (Balinese), Flores: Ende (Li’o), Bajawa (Ngad’a), Maumere (Sikka), Nangapanda (Ke’o), Detukeli (Li’o); Lembata: Wulondoni (Lamalera), Ile Ape (Ile Ape); West Sulawesi: Kalumpang (Kalumpang), Sumba: Wangameti, Rindi, Parailiu (Kambera); West Kalimantan: Sintang (Iban), (West Timor: Amarasi (Amarasi), Belu, Boti (Uab Meto). c Heyne (1987). d Listed in Nooteboom (1975) as Symplocos cochinchinensis var. leptophylla. e Verheijen (1990). f Gavin (2004). a Xanthophyllaceae Family Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 3. (CONTINUED). 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES ECONOMIC BOTANY We know of only two cases in which lime is added during the oiling process. In Ende (Flores), the pink organ–pipe coral (Tubipora muscia) is used. In Kalimantan, traces of lime and a few leaves of Dichapetalum timoriense (DC.) Engl. are added to the ngaos process. Step Six. Finally, after dyeing, the threads are dried. In most cases, they are then re–dyed with fresh Morinda material and mordant until the desired color is achieved, the exception being in Ende (Central Flores), where pounded Morinda root from the previous dyeing may be combined with freshly pounded root bark. Ende dyers also use an additional ﬁnal hot dye process called jaka, which over–dyes the Morinda red to a brown–red. The principal dye materials are sliced roots of Caesalpinia sappan, Morinda citrifolia, and other Morinda species mixed with Symplocos cochinchinensis (Lour.) S. Moore leaf powder (Fig. 2). The principal dyes found in Morinda roots are morindone and its rutinoside morindin, which are closely related to alizarin (found in Rubia species). In Indonesia, as in the Paciﬁc Islands [VOL (McClatchey 2003), local people recognize a diversity of growth forms and chemotypes in the Morinda citrifolia complex. Some of these are harvested for use and dye; others are not. All are anthraquinones and have a phenolic hydroxyl group adjacent to the carbonyl (C = O) group of the anthaquinone system. This moiety is called a chelate ligand, which reacts with the Al mordant from the Al hyperaccumulator plants to form a “dye lake,” a coordination compound that is precipitated on the cotton ﬁbers. Cotton ﬁber can be 97 percent cellulose (Kettering and Conrad 1942). Both the pH of the solution and the ligand type inﬂuence the bonding process with cellulose (Kongdee and Bechtold 2009). However, Indonesian traditional textile dyers seldom add an alkaline agent to the vat and, in practice, the morindin lake is mildly acidic. WHY ARE SOME SPECIES SELECTED AND NOT OTHERS? Studies on Al–hyperaccumulating plants, oil seed fatty acid chemistry, and plant lipases Fig. 2. a. The ngaos ritual is central to the mordanting process used by Dusun Dayak weavers in Kalimantan. b. Cotton threads covered in A. moluccana seed oil and fragments of Carica papaya leaves during the oil process, prior to drying and oil oxidization (Waimatan, Lembata). 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES provide very useful guides to oil seeds (Table 1), to plants commonly added to seed oils (Table 2), and to mordant plants (Table 3). All the genera we recorded as mordants are Al–hyperaccumulating species, deﬁned as plants accumulating more than 10,000 ppm of aluminum in dried leaf tissue (Jansen et al. 2002). This study also provides new records of Al–rich (>10,000 ppm) seeds used in the mordant process from ﬁve plant families (S. wallichianum [Santalaceae]), Hydnocarpus [Achariaceae] [IMM 41], E. tapos [Euphorbiaceae], H. macrocarpa [Cucurbitaceae], and Gonocaryum calleryanum [Cardiopteridaceae]) (Table 1). New records of Al–hyperaccumulating species used as mordants (Aporosa species [IMM 37], Hydnocarpus, Xanthophyllum, and several Symplocos species) are given in Table 3. Oil Seeds: The Importance of Unsaturated Fatty Acids In eastern Indonesia, oils used for oiling textile threads are traditionally from Pangium edule, Sterculia foetida, and Schleichera oleosa seeds. On islands such as Flores and Sumba, use has shifted to Aleurites moluccana seed oil, now abundant due to widespread cultivation. In West Kalimantan, however, Dayak weavers continue to use oil seeds from cultivated Cucurbitaceae (Cucumis, Lagenaria) and oil seeds from rainforest trees (Hydnocarpus, Elateriospermum, Gonocaryum, Hodgsonia, Pangium, and Scleropyrum). This raises an important question as to why more common oil–seed sources were not chosen. Given the commercial oil–seed harvests of “illipe nuts” from at least 20 species of Shorea (Dipterocarpaceae), why is there no use of illipe oil in the mordant process in Borneo as these mast–fruiting dipterocarps produce abundant seed oils in huge quantities? In contrast, species chosen for oil–seed use (S. wallichianum, Hydnocarpus, E. tapos, and Hodgsonia macrocarpa) have much lower fruit production per hectare. We suggest that dyers avoid using Shorea seed oils due to their high levels of saturated fatty acids and unsaponiﬁables that makes them unsuited to oiling cotton skeins. Preferred oil seeds are from species containing high levels of unsaturated (free) fatty acids. Most seed oils used to oil cotton threads during the mordant process contain four types of unsaturated fatty acids. First are mono– unsaturated fatty acids, typically oleic acid, in seeds of Aleurites moluccana (Ako et al. 2005) and Pangium edule (Andarwulan et al. 1999). Oleic acid, best known from Olea europaea seeds (olive oil, or cis–9–octadecenoic acid), was used to oil cotton threads during mordant processes in Europe. Also within the cis–monenoic acid group is palmitoleic acid, commonly found in animal fat, so it is likely to be in the chicken, ﬁsh, monitor lizard, turtle, and snake fats used in Kalimantan. Cyclic unsaturated fatty acids, such as sterculic acid from Sterculia foetida seed oil, which contain a cyclopropene moiety, are rarer. Second are polyenoic fatty acids (or polyunsaturated fatty acids), typically linoleic and linolenic fatty acids in seeds of Euphorbiaceae (A. moluccana) (Ako et al. 2005), Cucurbitaceae (Cucumis, Lagenaria, and probably Hodgsonia) (Chisholm and Hopkins 1964), and P. edule (Achariaceae) (Andarwulan et al. 1999). Third are acetylenic fatty acids, characterized by santalbic and stearolic acids in the Santalaceae. On the basis of other studies on Santalum seed oils (Jones et al. 1999), we suggest that these form the major component of Scleropyrum wallichianum seeds. In contrast, scleropyric acid, a mono–unsaturated fatty acid recorded from S. wallichianum stems (Suksamrarn et al. 2005) is probably in S. wallichianum seeds in minor amounts. No Random Choice: Why Are Plants Mixed with Seed Oils? As shown in Table 3, our study recorded textile weavers mixing fresh leaves or whole plants into seed oils (Table 1, Fig. 2b). Adding leaves from Amaranthaceae (Achyranthes), Apocynaceae (Calotropis, Parsonsia, Tabernaemontana), Euphorbiaceae (Claoxylon, Macaranga, Neoscortechinia), Santalaceae (Scleropyrum), and chopped leaves from Caricaceae (Carica papaya) is a deliberate choice that we suggest is made due to their enzyme content, such as oxidizing enzymes (Onslow 1921) and lipases. This has gone unnoticed in previous studies on traditional textile production. We suggest textile weavers select plant species that cause lipolysis (the hydrolysis of triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol). Although C. papaya was introduced to Asia from Central America, Indonesian textile weavers commonly add it to cotton threads covered with A. moluccana seed oil. The effects of C. papaya extract and latex as biocatalysts in lipid modiﬁcation and synthesis ECONOMIC BOTANY have been studied in detail (Foglia and Villeneuve 1997; Palocci et al. 2005). Experimental studies have shown that enzymes in C. papaya and C. pentagona Heilborn latex are very effective and are selective for short chain fatty acids (Dhuique-Mayer et al. 2001; Villeneuve et al. 1997). Lipolytic latexes are also known from latex of some Apocynaceae and Euphorbiaceae (Palocci et al. 2005). With the exception of the study on Euphorbia characias L., by Fiorillo et al. (2007), research on plant latex lipases in the Euphorbiaceae is poorly studied compared to research on the Caricaceae. However, unlike most Euphorbia species, Acalypha, Macaranga, and Neoscortechnia do not produce milky latex. Instead they produce a clear exudate. Due to use of whole Acalypha plants (including their roots) or chopped Macaranga and Neoscortechnia leaves in the oiling process (Table 2), we nevertheless suggest that clear exudates from these Euphorbiaceae either contain lipases or oxidizing enzymes (or both). These need further study, with due recognition given to the intellectual property of the traditional textile weavers concerned. Furthermore, we consider that textile producers long ago recognized the advantages of adding chopped plants to the mix when oiling threads (Fig. 2b), possibly to increase short– chain fatty acid availability. In Nigella sativa L. seed oil, lipases cause enzymatic hydrolysis, increasing free acid content by 40 percent or more (Üstun et al. 1990). These outcomes increase the efﬁciency with which cotton threads are coated in seed oil before drying and oil oxidization. Mordants: Only the Best Al Hyperaccumulators In contrast to industrial dye processes, where metallic salts of chromium, aluminum, tin, copper, and iron are the main mordants, traditional dye processes depend on Al mordants from plants or in mud–cloth, metallic salts of iron. It is no surprise that use of Al–hyperaccumulating plants as mordants is widespread in Indonesia. First, because the Symplocaceae have the highest Al levels recorded in plants. Second, mud dyes produce duller colors than Al mordants. Third, mordanting cotton threads in mud in any quantity requires dyers to take the cotton threads away from the household to an area with iron– rich muddy swamps, where they need to be left for two nights. Mordanting at home using [VOL Symplocos rather than mud is more convenient and secure, and avoids the ritual potency of swamps. A ﬁnal reason for using Al mordants may be because, as Kajitani (1979) points out, iron mordanted cotton threads start to break down and are weakened due to the catalytic effect of iron oxidization. We postulate that in the past, many more Symplocos species were used. Fewer are used today due to the loss of local knowledge about natural dye processes. Most of the world’s 250 Symplocos species could probably be used as natural mordants. There are several reasons for these suggestions. First, all Symplocos species tested in the YPBB dye studio are excellent mordants. In practice, it is unlikely that all would have been used, as some species are rare or in inaccessible forests (or both). Second, Jansen et al. (2002) found that 141 of 142 Symplocos species they tested (99.3 percent) qualiﬁed as Al hyperaccumulators. Third, the highest levels of Al found in any plant materials are from the genus Symplocos, with 72,240 ppm recorded in Symplocos spicata by von Faber (1925), a mordant species used in Java (Table 3). Our study also raises several questions. In the following section, we try to answer these questions on the basis of current information on plant chemistry, noting that deﬁnitive answers require further studies on the chemistry of mordant plants and processes. First, why are mordants sourced from only three plant families when Jansen et al. (2002) document that Al hyperaccumulation is found in 45 families? We suggest that natural mordants are only sourced from a few plant families due to the much higher aluminum levels in these three families and in the species selected within them. Textile weavers have certainly selected plant species that are the most efﬁcient Al accumulators, storing aluminum at 10 times higher levels (i.e., >10,000 mg/kg) than the baseline level used to deﬁne Al–accumulator plants by Jansen et al. (2002). Based on this prediction, it is possible that in the past, when natural textile weaving thrived, the following genera were used as mordants in addition to those we have recorded: Helicia (Proteaceae), such as Helicia javanica Blume and Helicia serrata Blume in the Asia–Paciﬁc region, Miconia (Melastomaceae) in tropical Africa and the Americas, Polyosma (Grossulariaceae) in South and Southeast Asia, and Vochysia (Vochysiasceae) in tropical America. In addition, it is tempting to predict on 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES the basis of their high Al levels (Jansen et al. 2003) that several genera in the Cardiopteridaceae, Icacinaceae, and Rubiaceae families have been used in the past by textile weavers across the tropics. We suggest that of the plants in the Rubiaceae, weavers may have used Craterispermum in tropical West Africa and Madagascar, Coccosypselum and Faramea in tropical America, and Coptosapelta in Asia. In the Cardiopteridaceae, we consider that Heyne’s (1987) record of kayu loba (which he thought may be Stemonurus), is probably Gonocaryum, a genus where 11 of 14 species tested (79 percent) are Al hyperaccumulators (Jansen et al. 2002). We also suggest that in South America, textile dyers may have preferentially used bark more than leaves, as Al hyperaccumulators in the Memecylaceae (Memcyclon, Acisanthera, Henriettea), Melastomaceae (Miconia), and Voschsyiaceae (Qualea, Vochysia) have higher Al levels in their bark than their leaves. Second, given that copper metallic salts make good mordants and some plant species are copper hyperaccumulators (Baker and Brooks 1989), why are there no records of their use as mordants? The apparent lack of use of copper accumulating plants may be due to a combination of restricted distribution of these species or low availability of copper salts affecting the value of these plants as mordants. Third, why are no Symplocos species traditionally used as mordants by Dayak dyers when we know the local Symplocos species (emarik, IMM 33) is an excellent mordant? This is puzzling for two reasons. One is that Kalimantan has the highest diversity (and highest endemism) of Symplocos species in Indonesia (29 Symplocos species, compared to just four species in East Nusa Tenggara [Fig. 1]). The second reason is that Symplocos (emarik) is more common in the forests of Sintang than any of the Aporusa or Xanthophyllum used as mordants. Heppell (1994) points out that in Iban society, the ritual potency of the mordant process restricts this practice to older women. We suggest ritual belief systems may have conservatively restricted women to traditionally use bark from Aporusa and Xanthophyllum, preventing experimentation with a wider range of species, such as Symplocos. This may have occurred because Symplocos (emarik) was considered inauspicious as its Al–rich leaf mulch suppresses rice growth in swidden agriculture systems. Fourth, why have no Melastomataceae been recorded as used as mordants in Indonesia when they seem to be good candidates for selection by local dyers? The second highest aluminum levels recorded in plants occur in the Melastomataceae (66,100 ppm in Miconia acinodendron leaves [Chenery 1948]). Several genera share the same habitats in Indonesia as Symplocos. From ﬁeld observation, these Melastomataceae also share a common characteristic of Symplocos and Al hyperaccumulators in several other plant families in the yellow color of their dried leaves. This is due to a reaction between the ﬂavonoids and aluminum compounds in the leaves (Nooteboom 1974) and is a useful visual cue for local people. One reason may be the relatively low Al levels in Clidemia, Melastoma, and Memecyclon compared to South American Miconia species. A ﬁnal and puzzling question is why our study did not record any Rubiaceae used as mordant plants in Indonesia? The Rubiaceae family contains 32 percent of all Al–accumulating plant species recorded (Chenery 1948) and is a source of traditional dyes from the Gynochtodes, Morinda, and Psychotria species. The same question could be asked across the tropics, where textile traditions are widespread, such as in West Africa, Asia, and tropical America. Burkhill (1997) and MacFoy (2004), for example, mention use of Craterispermum laurinum Benth. as a yellow– brown dye in West Africa. This species is known to have natural aluminum levels exceeding 36,000 mg/kg, the highest in the Rubiaceae family (Jansen et al. 2003), and so may have been used as a mordant. Selection of Species with Symbolic Signiﬁcance Red thread for traditional textiles is difﬁcult and time–consuming to produce, so textiles with red color were worn as a sign of status. Mordants are crucial to the production of colorfast natural red dyes. Ritual processes are closely linked to mordanting. Red ﬂowers are often added to red dye baths to “evoke the spirit of red.” Common sources are ﬂowers from Erythrina variegata L. (Flores), leaves of Clerodendron squamatum Vahl (Flores and Kalimantan), fruits from garden plants such chiles (Flores, Sulawesi), or in Kalimantan, in a communal ceremony (ngaos) (Fig. 2a), use of Hibiscus and Bougainvillea ﬂowers. Hot–cold classiﬁcations are widespread when it comes to foods, health, ritual practices, and color symbolism. We suggest three reasons why hot– cold classiﬁcation applies to the mordant process. ECONOMIC BOTANY One. Although most mordant practices are cold in terms of temperature, the process is hot with ritual potency. This is a reason why only the most accomplished women weavers (some only from a particular lineage), are capable of leading the ngaos ritual. Status within a community is commensurate with this skill. In Sabah (Malaysian Borneo), for example, Iban women who were skilled dyers had ritual status: Skill at dyeing, or at least the preparation of the mordant, was what set one woman apart from other women, and all women apart from men. As women’s work of the highest ritual order, dyeing was recognized as of the greatest importance in the designation of the consummate master weaver as a woman tau uar, tau ngakar (who can dye and prepare the mordant) (Heppell 1994). In Sabah, the whole ngar ceremony took 10 to 15 days and was performed in June–July or December–January (Linggi 2001). The similar ngaos ritual we observed in Kalimantan is much shorter, probably due to religious change. In both cases, women who were able to measure the ingredients for the mordant of the ngar and ngaos rituals were held in special esteem and considered gifted with the spiritual power and the knowledge necessary for leading the complex ritual. The necessary skills are passed down from mother to daughter, or given by the ancestors through dreams, or passed to an unrelated student by a teacher possessing the necessary protective amulets (Linggi 2001). Two. The use of a high diversity of Zingiberaceae (Table 4) may have less to do with their active ingredients, as suggested by Christensen (2002) and more to do with their conceptual role as “hot” foods (and medicines). Three. The use of red ﬂowers and chiles may relate to the fact that while two of the symbolic color triad, white and black, are “cold” colors, red is a “hot” color. Symplocos Use and Trade: Tying Up Some Loose Ends Indonesia has had trade links with India for centuries. Barnes (1989) points out that, based on the derivation of kapas, the word used for cotton throughout Indonesia (from the Sanksrit karpasa), cotton (Gossypium spp.) arrived from India. We also suggest that this link to Indian trade and textiles also extends to Symplocos, commonly [VOL called lobha, luba, or luaba in eastern Indonesia. In India, several Symplocos species, including S. racemosa Grah., are known as lodhra (in Sanskrit, Bengali, and Marathi) or lodhar (Gujarati). Although our study has raised additional questions, we have been able to answer two intriguing questions raised by Barnes (1989) in her authoritative study on Lamalera textiles. We also provide botanical details on a controversy about the ngar process in Dayak–Iban textile production. The ﬁrst question relates to the source of aluminum used by textile weavers on Lembata. Barnes (1989) suspected the aluminum mordant might have come through the use of clay dye pots. These pots are made in Nualela from local clay mixed with ﬁne volcanic earth. The second question is the identity of the “roman tree” that Barnes (1989) observed was added as dried, powdered leaves during the dye process on the neighboring island of Solor, speculating on the basis of a study by Kajitani (1979) that it was “likely to be the source of aluminum needed in the mordant combination such as Symplocos fasciculata.” It is clear from our ﬁeldwork that the mordant source in Lamalera (and neighboring villages) was from Symplocos leaves rather than clay pots. Leaves from this Symplocos species, locally called romlolo, were regularly collected 30 years ago on Mt. Lebalekang for local use and trade by villagers living an hour’s walk from Lamalera. Based on this name and historical trade patterns, we suggest that the “roman tree” leaves that puzzled Barnes (1989) on Solor came from this Symplocos species. Based on discussions with textile weavers and Symplocos harvesters and traders on Flores, Lembata, Savu, and Sumba, there is no doubt about the long history of inter–island trade in Symplocos leaves, often “branded” by being wrapped in Symplocos bark. In addition, because weaving takes place in households on the coastal fringes of islands and Symplocos is from montane forests, Symplocos is featured in ritual exchange networks between the coast and the mountain areas where traditional (adat) villages are located. The value placed on Symplocos leaves in the contemporary cash economy, in historical barter economies, and in ritual exchanges reﬂects the value placed on this tree genus by weavers. In Lamalera, in the 1960s, just three Symplocos leaves could be bartered for six cobs of maize. Today, in Ende’s market (Flores), a glass full of powdered, dry Symplocos leaves (70 leaves weighing 50 g) sells for Karabitang (K) Winggir (Kam) Temu lawak (In) Kenchur (J) Lia (Ib) Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (D, I) Areca catechu (D, I) Piper betle (D, I) Clerodendron squamatum Alpinia ofﬁcinarum (D) Boesenbergia aurantifolia (W) Cucurma domestica (D) Cucurma zedoaria (D) Kaempferia galanga (D) Zingiber ofﬁcinale (D) Malvaceae Palmae Piperaceae Verbenaceae Zingiberaceae Sembika (Li) Keu (Li) Nata (Li) Pucuk (IA) Aju kare (Sa), blata (S), dedap (Li), neansa, nenas poat (U), puho (L), walakeri (Kam) Rhizome Rhizome Rhizome Rhizome Flower, rhizome Rhizome Flower Fruit Fruit Flower, seed Seed: ritual food for the ancestors Bark, Flower Part(s) Used Ritual Ritual Ritual Ritual use before beginning to dye. Ritual use before begin dye process as offering along with areca, lime and tobacco. Red ﬂowers invoke the spirit of red during over dye (Jaka) hot process. Worn by dyer during ngaos during oiling process. Ritual: ginger as a source of “warming” Ritual Ritual: food for the ancestors, colours the rice yellow Ritual: evoking the spirit of red Ritual use before begining the oil process (Ngaos) Red ﬂowers invoke the spirit of red during over dye (Jaka) hot process. Use iv West Sulawesi (Kalumpang) East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi), Borneo (Iban)c, West Kalimantan (Sintang) Borneo (Iban)c Borneo (Iban)c Borneo (Iban)c Borneo (Iban)c, Central Flores (Ende), West Kalimantan (Sintang) Central Flores (Ende), East Sumba (Kambera, Rindi), Flores (Maumere), Lembata (Wulondoni), Savu (Seba), West Timor (Belu) Lembata (Ile Ape), West Kalimantan (Sintang) Central Flores (Ende) Central Flores (Ende), Borneo (Iban)c West Kalimantan (Sintang) Location(s)b (A Amarasi, Am Ambonese, B Bali, Ib Iban, IA Ile Ape, In Indonesian, J Javanese, K Kalumpang, Kam Kambera, Ke Ke’o, L Lamalera, Li Li’o, Ng Ngad’a, Sa Savu, S Sikka, Su Sunda, U Uab Meto). b Bali: Bedugul, Nusa Penida (Balinese), Flores: Ende (Li’o), Bajawa (Ngad’a), Maumere (Sikka), Nangapanda (Ke’o), Detukeli (Li’o); Lembata: Wulondoni (Lamalera), Ile Ape (Ile Ape); West Sulawesi: Kalumpang (Kalumpang), Sumba: Wangameti, Rindi, Parailiu (Kambera); West Kalimantan: Sintang (Iban), (West Timor: Amarasi (Amarasi), Belu, Boti (Uab Meto). c Christensen (2002). a Lia (Ib) Erythrina variegata (D, W) Leguminosae Padi (Ib, In) Oryza sativa (I, D) Graminae Local Name(s)a Family USED FOR RITUAL PURPOSES DURING THE MORDANT PROCESS. Species (W = wild, D = domesticated, I = introduced) Table 4. PLANTS 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES ECONOMIC BOTANY the equivalent of 50,000 rupiah/kg ($5.00 per kg), compared to rice, which sells for 5,000 rupiah/kg ($0.50) in the same market. As discussed earlier in this paper, the ngaos ceremony in Kalimantan (known as ngar in Iban communities in Sarawak [Malaysian Borneo]) is a ritually potent, complex process requiring a high level of skill. As this process is culturally equivalent to headhunting by men (Gavin 2004), ngar has received considerable attention by textile experts and anthropologists (Gavin 2004; Heppell 2006), but less so by botanists (Christensen 2002). Based on the species used as mordants (Table 3) and the diversity of oil seeds used during ngaos (Table 1), we suggest mordant plants are used during the ngar ceremony. These include known bark from Al–hyperaccumulator plants, such as Aporusa basilanensis Merr., A. confusa Gage, and A. nitida Merr. (Christensen 2002); jangau upak bark (Linggi 2001; see Table 3); and Xanthophyllum bark supplemented by Al–rich seeds from E. tapos, G. calleryanum, H. macrocarpa, and S. wallichianum. VALUES AND VULNERABILITY: OPTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE HARVEST Habitat loss most seriously affects the forest tree species used as mordants and oil–seed sources. Most mordant species are wild harvested. In East Nusa Tenggara, Symplocos species are only found in remnant montane forests above 600 masl. In West Kalimantan, plant species producing oil seeds are rapidly declining due to logging for their timber (E. tapos, Euphorbiaceae) and due to forest clearing for rubber and oil palm plantations (S. wallichianum [Santalaceae], G. calleryanum [Cardiopteridaceae], and H. macrocarpa [Cucurbitaceae]). In central Flores, some forest patches with Symplocos are less than one hectare in extent, in one case, with just 30 trees remaining due to agricultural expansion and the spread of A. moluccana agroforestry systems. In other places, Symplocos populations are larger, but have been affected by destructive harvest for a commercial inter–island trade, due to a “quality assurance” practice of packing Symplocos leaves within a roll of bark. Shifting away from bark harvest to use for wrapping dried Symplocos leaves, coupled with community–based resource management plans, is necessary to sustain these plant resources and their associated knowledge and textile traditions for the future. [VOL Whether demand for a plant resource can be sustained or not depends on the extent of the demand versus the supply as well as the intensity and frequency of harvest (Cunningham 2001). Fast growing plant species with a wide distribution whose leaves, ﬂowers, or fruits are harvested for local demand is much easier to sustain than destructive harvest of slower growing habitat– speciﬁc plant species. Although some Symplocos species such as emarik (IMM 33) grow at low altitudes (c. 40 masl), most are found in higher altitude forests (generally above 600 masl), including Symplocos cochinenchinesis, S. buxifolia Stapf., S. deﬂexa Stapf., S. johniana Stapf. and S. zizyphoides Stapf. There is hope, however. Over the past four years, the high value of dried fallen Symplocos leaves has provided an entry point into our work with a local community in Ende regency to undertake a community–based forest conservation initiative in the largest—and one of the last—remaining forests on Flores. The fact that this forest is rich in S. conchinchinensis and other useful plants is providing a key incentive for community forest management (YPBB 2008). This initiative is making good progress and has received regency– level political support under Indonesia’s forest decentralization policy. LINKS TO LIVELIHOODS Many communities from across the Indonesian archipelago wish to modernize and achieve material progress while maintaining the integrity of their traditional culture and individual, family, and clan identity. Within the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), where most of our ﬁeldwork was conducted, 130,000 women or 10.2 percent of those aged 15 to 70 years old and 45.8 percent of all villages continue to practice weaving (Anon 2003), with an estimated 13,000 women still making natural– dyed traditional textiles. The 50 members of the Sanggar Bliran Sina cultural cooperative in Sikka, Flores, for example, do not see modernity and tradition as an either–or choice. They maintain their music and dance traditions and have developed cooperative textile sales worth over $20,000 a year, which is equivalent to more than the Provincial per–capita Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP). This is an example of how a strong export and tourist–based market can support economic development and local cultural aspira- 2011] CUNNINGHAM ET AL.: MORDANT PLANTS AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILES tions. For members of the Bou Sama Sama cooperative in Ende (Flores), the sale of natural rather than synthetically-dyed textiles can improve hourly income by over 370 percent. Even without an export trade, local demand can support the continuity of the textile arts. In Atadei on the south coast of Lembata, bride–wealth textiles sell within a village for Rp 3 million to Rp 4 million ($300 to $400) each while highest status textiles in Ile Ape can cost as much as Rp 30 million ($3,000) on the local market. In Bajawa, Flores, community members will pay Rp 2.5 million to Rp 3.5 million ($250 to $350) for a Lawo Butu beaded ceremonial textile. In all these three cases—Ile Ape, Atadei, Bajawa—local prices are higher than the international market value chain will bear and are very high when compared to a Provincial per–capita GRDP in 2007 of Rp 4.3 million ($430) (BPS 2008). Conclusion Through working with textile weavers in Indonesia we have been able to record local knowledge of mordant plants that is being lost in other parts of the tropics. While industrial mordant processes are centered on chemistry, traditional dye processes have to deal with chemistry, cultural requirements, and resource management. In terms of plant chemistry, textile weavers select the most appropriate plant species for their ash, oils, or natural sources of mordants. In addition, symbolic and ritual steps, often with long historical roots, including those linked through oral histories to particular plant species, also need to be carried out correctly. Quite literally, plants and their chemistry, culture, and ritual are bound together in each woven cloth. Acknowledgements We are grateful to all participants at the two Nusantara Weaver’s Festivals, with special thanks to Tamu Rambu Hamueti (Rindi, Sumba); Ita Yusaf, Zailani Aksa, (Ndona, Flores); Kornelis Ndapakamang (Labanapu, Sumba); Veronika Kanyan (Sintang, Kalimantan); Yohanes Beda (Tapobali, Lembata); Marta (Malolo, Sulawesi); Daud Mangalatung and Nurhayati Masika (Sulawesi); Willi Daos Kadati (Kupang, Timor); Rosalia Bubu (Belu, Timor); Robert Koroh (Amarasi, West Timor); Eu Rosina Dane (Mehara, Savu) and Obo Tede Dara (Seba, Savu). Thanks are also due to Rogier de Kok, Brian Schrire and Tim Utteridge, Dick Williams, Jack Cannon, Kate Weatherley and Roy Hamilton. 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