One of special thing that should not be left when you visit Nusa Penida is look up to traditional hand-woven fabric called Cepuk. This cloth is so enchanting as the material used, the way to stitch need good skill and used for ritual ceremony especially in calonarang dance performance, once in a year. The traditional cepuk cloth was almost extinct few years ago since only some of old women could make it. Nowadays, cepuk rise up and has become best product as textile heritage. Central of cepuk handmade can be found in Tanglad Village, about 30 kilometers to southern part of sea port.
The weaving process is quite long, for 2 x 1.5 cepuk cloth, the craftmen need at least 7 days. They still use ancient wooden looms, locally called ‘cagcag’. Complicated technique during the weaving require perfect skill and accuracy. All of material used taken from the nature, cotton as the basic material planted by the local farmyard. The coloring also use traditional color made of wood skin extract, however some weaver turned to using artificial coloring.
The first step of long process started by separating cotton from its seeds. The cotton will be spinned to be thread, then colored with natural dye. Cepuk originally consisted of just two main colors, for red color extracted from kepundung petals mixed with skin of sunti tree, meanwhile, the yellow taken from turmeric. Most of cepuk variated with barong motive, trees, birds and tembing. Actually, there some types of cepuk based on its porpuses. Common cepuk or ‘kamben’ ussually used for casual dress. In addition, cepuk ‘rawis’ with ancients rare motives worn during cremation ceremony. The last types, cepuk kucubung and cepuk liking paku used to worn on filling tooth ceremony or metatah.
Many visitors form foreign countries and textile collectors curious about skill needed behind its making and exotic patterns adopted from the nature around. Reasonable price offered for cloth with 2 x 1.5 meters between IDR 300,000 up to IDR 500,000 per piece. Cepuk is such of enchanting masterpiece which try to survive in the pressure of modern civilization. Its material, motives and the way how to make it lead us to learn the ancient culture.