Thomas Sigar Preserving the Enchanting Culture of Minahasa

When other Indonesian traditional fabric like batik gets wider recognition, Minahasa weaving gets less than what it deserve. Today, the National Museum in Jakarta only has a single piece of Minahasa weaving and another 4 pieces is kept in a museum in the Netherlands. Therefore Thomas Sigar take the initiative by recreating Minahasa weaving with new motifs, new materials and modern design to preserve this heritage.

Through a fashion show titled “The Enchanting Culture of Minahasa”, Thomas Sigar tried to bring forward Minahasa traditional fabric to wider audience in Indonesia. He presented Minahasa silk weaving with patola motif, also hand-painted chiffon and silk with patola motif on it. Fabric with patola motif is considered sacred by Minahasa people because of its geometric graphic that looks like snake scales that represent the guardian god that looks for people rice fields. Usually the scale-like pattern is placed on the edge of the weaving. Ironically, Thomas Sigar needed to conduct the weaving process in Bali instead of Minahasa since there’s no more artisan left in Minahasa. The design for men’s attires were mostly inspired by kuarta or Indian long tunic shirt and Nehru-style jas tutup (high-necked jacket with standing collar and closed with plug buttons). While women’s attires ranged from daily outfits to cocktail dresses.

What do you think about the textile and the design? The various textiles are unique and Tomas Sigar successfully emphasized their beauty with the right designs; don’t you agree?


Photos by Arselan Ganin