Apart from being one of human provisions, weaving in the cultural aspect of Indonesia also has several functions in the community who created it, especially related to social, economic, religious, and aesthetics aspects. In terms of design, fabrics and colors, weaving shows the fabric function as well as the social status of the wearer in the society. In Indonesia, weaving is a craft that passed from generation to generation and associated with the physical and spiritual elements.
According to Drs. Ganal Rudiyanto, M. Hum., weaving in Bali is different from that in the Batak Toba of North Sumatra. Balinese weaving is much influenced by the physical environment and Balinese Hindu culture that are close to the life of the local community. "The appearance prioritizes more on the aesthetical aspect, the beauty dedicated to Hindunese gods of Bali. While ulos weaving in Tapanuli, although influenced by elements of the cosmos and the environment, has a simpler form and motive," he said on Monday (26/9) in UGM Graduate School.
The lecturer of Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Trisakti University, said this during the open exam of his doctoral program at UGM. Accompanied by promoter Prof. Dr. R.M. Soedarsono and co-promoters Prof. Drs. S.P. Gustami, S.U. and Dr. M. Agus Burhan, M. Hum., he defended his dissertation entitled Shape of Motif, Products Function, and Sociocultural Meaning of Ulos Batak Toba Weaving in North Sumatra and Gringsing Weaving in Tenganan, Bali: A Comparative Study.
The symbolic meanings contained in the decorative motifs of gringsing and ulos weaving, according to Ganal, cannot be interpreted partially, but completely and totally. Several types of ulos and gringsing weaving are well-known for its dominant decorative motif, techniques and dominant colors. The decorative motifs in it will be meaningful when interpreted altogether or in unity as a leaf. "Thus, the meaning of symbols in the ulos or gringsing weaving has to be developed in order to enrich the cultural and artistic treasures of the nation," he said.
Ulos and gringsing weaving has produced a sacred manifestation of the context idea that has its own existence or integrity, which is no longer simply as a work of art, but also part of life of Toba’s Batak and Tenganan Bali Aga. Decorative function of ulos and gringsing is the symbol that has meaning and then transmitted historically by the ancestor to the next generations to be used as a guide of living in the community. "Any decorative pattern serves as a symbol, and it has a meaning or message that has to be followed by all residents," Ganal concluded.
According to Ganal, the basic form of ulos weaving that is more dominated by geometry motif implies an element of the cosmos as a symbol of affection, kinship and welfare. Meanwhile, gringsing features more of the floral and puppetry theme motifs as a form of beauty dedicated to the God, Indra. The colors that appear on both weaving are influenced by the concept of the cosmos, namely white, red and black. "Although its application is different, but the meaning in it is the same," added Ganal who graduated as the 1456th doctor from the UGM.