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By Jean-Marc Roda & Santosh Rathi.

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Additional info for Malaysia: Asia Pro Eco Program : feeding China's expanding demand for wood pulp : a diagnostic assessment of plantation development, fiber supply, and impacts on natural forests in China and in the South East Asia Region

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Com Although some factory-made threads are utilised, ikat is usually made of cotton, and hand-spun. The whole process of ikat production – from planting the cotton to folding the finished product – is performed by women. Once the cotton is harvested, it is spun with a spindle. The thread is strengthened by immersing it in baths of crushed cassava, rice or maize, then threaded onto a winder. Traditional dyes are made from natural sources. The most complex processes result in a rusty colour known as kombu (it’s produced from the bark and roots of the kombu tree).

Often woodcarving is interwoven with practical skills such as house building. In some regions, a house not only provides protection, but also repels unwanted spirits. Artistic evidence of this can be seen in the horned lion heads that protect Batak houses, the water buffalo representations that signify prosperity on Toraja houses, and the serpent carvings TOPENG – MASKS Although carved masks exist throughout the archipelago, the most readily identifiable form of mask is the topeng, used in wayang topeng, the masked dance-dramas of Java and Bali.

Vishnuism places greater emphasis on devotion and duty, and Vishnu’s incarnations, Krishna and Rama, feature heavily in Indonesian art and culture. com BUDDHISM Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince, founded Buddhism in the 6th century BC. His message is that the cause of life’s suffering is desire, and that by overcoming desire we can free ourselves from suffering. The ultimate goal is nirvana: escape from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Buddhism is essentially a Hindu reform movement. The big difference is that Buddhism shunned the Hindu pantheon of gods and the caste system.

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