Man’s Ikat Coat

Eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang Province, China)pre-1869

Gallery 24, Islamic Art


Focus on the Object

The Object of the Month is a man’s ikat coat collected by the explorer Robert Shaw in 1868/69, on his travels to Kashgar and Yarkand (in what was Eastern Turkestan, now China). ‘Ikat’ refers to the technique used to give the coat its extraordinary, vibrant effect.

Ikat Technique
The coat is patterned with ikat, a textile technique that is especially well developed in Asia. The word ‘ikat’ comes from the Malay-Indonesian for ‘to tie’.

The term is applied to a resist-dye process where prior to weaving, warp or weft (or in some cases both) are tied off with a resist fibre and are then dyed. Resist ties are removed or new ones are added for each colour. After dyeing, all resists are opened, and the patterned yarns are woven.