The object of central symbolic importance is Ompu Sihol’s iraniran or reel. I brought it with me from The Netherlands because we hadn’t been able to find one in the Batak area (the one that we tried to make was big and clumsy). Ompu Sihol (my weaving teacher in Harian Boho in 1980) had shown me, more than 30 years ago, how to use it and the yarn that she had wrapped was still on it. We used it to re-shoot the iraniran component of the film. Ompu Okta said she had never used one before. (She told me that in Uluan the warp winder without a central peg had been used to wind newly-spun yarn. Such are the regional variations in Batak weaving techniques and equipment.) It took her awhile to get the hang of it, but eventually she could wrap flawlessly, though more carefully and slowly than Ompu Sihol who had mastered it and could do it quickly and without thinking.
|Pak Jerry congratulates a satisfied Ompu Okta on her new yarn wrapping skill.|
We used Ompu Sihol’s old, crackly voice in the film while Ompu Okta winds yarn...and it leads into the Suarasama version. Irwansyah worked Ompu Sihol’s song into a new composition. It will be the theme song of the film. We are calling it The Weaving Song and it is dedicated to the memory of Ompu Sihol. Nashir is fond of pointing out that the iraniran symbolizes the essence of the film: it belonged to Ompu Sihol and it is used by Ompu Okta who plays the first Batak weaver. It represents the passage of knowledge from one generation to the next and it celebrates the vast weaving knowledge of the two most important weavers in the film.
|The symbolic heart of the film: Ompu Okta using Ompu Sihol's iraniran.|
Postscript: All of the players dressed up in Batak textiles for Nashir’s video recording of the song. I noticed that the shoulder cloth that Ritha was wearing had precisely the ikat that I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to find for the exhibition. She was willing to allow me to include it in the exhibition, yet another overlap with the film.