The cheerful colours of a cloth known as Roba de Llengües is probably the most characteristic visual symbol of Mallorcan art and craft traditions. The age-old cloth typically has a pattern of tongue-like shapes or Llengües of white interspersed with blue, green or red. The colouring technique is similar to that of Ikat. In the old days, yarn made of hemp (Cannabis saliva) was used in this hand-weaving process on large looms. But nowadays, Llengües cloth is mostly woven in a mixture of cotton (70 %) and linen (30 %) instead of using hemp. The yarn is first dyed in white, then sections are dyed in colour to achieve the chosen pattern. Some segments of the yarn are covered altogether to avoid being dyed.
The spirit of the Llengües weaving tradition is still maintained in Mallorca by three textile workshops: Galeries Vicenç in Pollença, Gabriel Riera in Lloseta, and Artesenia Textil Bujosa in Santa Eugènia.
A visit to a Llengües museum is recommended, the Museu Martí Vicenç in Pollença, where details of the process of artisanal loom weaving can be studied and where a huge range of historic designs may be admired, some of which are hundreds of years old.
During the month of November, Palma’s Casal Solleric will present an exhibition about the tradition of Mallorcan Roba de Llengües, including a design recently created by Miquel Barceló, the Felanitx-born painter and artist.
The photo (top) was taken near Valldemossa, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 18th, 2009. The time was 15:29:30. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet. Credit is due to diariodemallorca.es.