Weaving cual was originally an activity of women from the Muntok nobility, West Bangka, descendants of Ence’ Wan Abdul Haiyat in Petenon Village, in the 18th century. Cual weaving was originally a Muntok traditional cloth which means the initial dyeing of the yarn to be dyed.
Cual weaving is a combination of songket and ikat techniques, but what makes it unique is the arrangement of motifs using ikat weaving techniques. The types of cual weaving motifs include the full patterned arrangement of motifs (Penantek Bekecak), and the empty space motif of Jande Bekecak. Cual Bangka was formerly known as Limar Muntok. At first glance, the cual woven motif looks like a palembang songket. The difference is that if in Songket Palembang the motifs are taken from flower forms such as cempaka or clove flowers, then the exception is taking motifs of natural forms from plants and animals, such as cat or duck motifs, roses, etc. seen from a distance will arise the motive.
The social function of cual weaving is as clothing for the greatness of the Muntok environment, bridal clothing and clothing on Islamic and other traditional days, as a gift for the bride or as a dowry that directly describes a person’s social status (rank and position) at that time. In the past, the subtlety of the weaving, the level of complexity of the motifs and the colors in the cual weaving contained a philosophy of life as a result of the weaver’s religious journey.
Weaving cual is very famous because of the texture of the fabric that is so smooth, the dye color of the thread does not change, and the various motifs seem to arise, when viewed from a distance. Fans of cual weaving even went outside of Bangka, so they were also sold to Palembang, Belitung, Pontianak, Singapore and other Malay lands. This causes cual weaving users no longer only to the descendants of the Mentok Nobility.
From 1914 to 1918, there was a great war that swept through Europe which caused the cut off of raw materials for cual weaving. The entry of textiles from China complemented the Muntok people leaving the cual weaving craft. In 1990, the Industrial City of Pangandaran City Center re-encourages cual handicrafts in Bangka. The cual craft business group consisting of members, the family is chaired by Masliana. In 2003 Maslina formed the Bangka Typical Cual Weaving Fabric Cooperative. Now there are 40 cual craftsmen spread across cities and regencies in Bangka Belitung.
Currently cual woven craftsmen are quite overwhelmed by consumer orders on the European continent, such as the Netherlands, France, Spain, Switzerland and other countries, besides that cual woven fabrics are in demand by consumers in Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries.
The Bangka Belitung Provincial Government held training on cual cloth weaving to motivate the younger generation and preserve the typical weaving craft in the area. The background of this cual weaving training activity is that the number of craftsmen for this craft is decreasing, so that the typical fabric products are limited to meet the high market demand.
Cual Weaving Motif
Cual woven products have their own uniqueness with only two motifs, namely flora and fauna such as elephant flowers, hong birds, ducks, and fighting dragons. China has a very strong influence in the development of cual cloth in Bangka.
In addition, there are several other Cual motifs such as the Sumping Flower, Jellyfish, Peacock, Gajah Mada, Sprigs and Rukem Flowers, Setaman Duck, Chain Flower Flower and Setaman Flower, Sleeping Cat, Kenanga Flower and others.
These motifs have been patented by craftsmen Cual Maslina to avoid copyright theft.
Due to the peculiarities of the workmanship and materials, the price of hand-woven Cual Fabrics is quite high.
For Cual quality one with raw materials of silk without a mixture, one large shawl is valued at Rp. 7.5 million to Rp. 19 million.
As for the second quality Cual Fabric, it is valued at around Rp. 2.5 million to Rp. 5 million and above, for class number three it is valued at around Rp. 1.2 million to Rp. 1.8 million.
This cual cloth woven product is quite diverse, such as songket, long cloth, scarves, ready-made clothes such as shirts, Muslim clothes, and brides are quite high.