Songket is more than just a colorful textile worm at traditional ceremonies. There is a meaning behind the way songket is worn and in the symphony of motifs woven into the fabric. Women are the sole creators of these fine textiles in the Minangkabau. It is another example of women’s contribution to their culture. Men, on the other hand, are responsible for woodcarving. Of course, today not every female in Minangkabau weaves, nor the men carve.
Pandai Singkek, a small quiet village south of Bukittinggi is home to West Sumatra’s best weavers and carvers. Houses are turned into home businesses. A shop in front and a workshop in the back, visitors are also served by the beautiful sight of Pandai Singkek’s surroundings.
They ranged from as low as Rp 500,000 to a couple of million Rupiah. Different types of thread determine the price, with the highest being the single thread. It takes one month to make a single shawl, but a single thread does create the softest songket.
Besides songket, you will fall in love with the Minangkabau silver. En route Pandai Singkek from Bukittinggi is Koto Gadang, a toen of the well educated, well-read and cultured people. It is also home to Minagkabau’s finest silversmiths. These craftsmen have been making the best silver creations for generations. Here, silver is made into jewelry, accessories and miniatures of traditional houses. Koto Gadang silver is not as shiny as silver from other parts of the county. It is also light and delicate, perfect for a keepsake.