Traditional Woven Thread

The island of Timor has a long, proud history and a rich culture built over centuries. Many different ethnic influences have contributed to the island’s development.

Tais are made through a range of processes including: starting with spinning cottoon balls in to thread, then using plants to make natural dyes to colour the thread, soaking the thread in the dyes that have already been produced natural,local materials. Following that the thread is oiled to fix the dyes and finally the tais is woven from the looms which can be quite large depending on the size and complexity of the design.
Traditional tais are made in all of the districts of Timor-Leste. In each district there is local knowledge that is unique through processes of weaving and colouring the thread. There are many differences in the methods and recipes (plants) used for preparing the dyes for thread. In communities that weave Tais, the majority use processes that were passed down from their ancestors that they still use today albeit sometimes combining artificial dyes and synthetic thread from the modern time. The biggest differences between districts can be seen in the motifs, patterns and colour combinations.