About 40 kilometers from Palangkaraya City, there is a small village called Bukit Rawi. The village is even older than Palangkaraya City itself because the first person to establish Pahandut Village (Originally from Palangkaraya City) came from Bukit Rawi. Some old buildings still stand here, even though they look old and unkempt but still stand firm. The majority of houses on the banks of the river are also in shape affected by typical European designs with large and many windows.
In front of one of the houses in Bukit Rawi Village, some rattan can be seen lying on the side of the road, this rattan is apparently being dried in the hot sun to dry and its green color has turned brownish yellow.
When looking into the house, a grandmother was seen sitting among the scattered rattan. Some are still stemmed, some have been processed flat, and some are already in the form of woven.
His name is Tambi (grandmother) Herta, he is the only rattan craftsman who still survives in this village. Helped by his nephew they process thorny rattan sticks to become beautiful bags, hats, bottles, baskets and even wall hangings. The skilled hands with decades of experience are able to apply various types of typical Dayak motifs in the form of valuable crafts.
It turns out before it becomes a wall decoration or bag there is a fairly complicated and long process that must be passed by the rattan. Along with the increasingly old age, Tambi Herta is no longer able to directly search for rattan into the forest of Borneo as it used to be, now he only buys totan that has been cut up to 6 meters from the local residents.
Before processing, they must ensure that the bar is completely dry. After the brownish yellow color of the rattan must be cut into one or one meter in half and then split. From there, 6-12 strands are obtained depending on the diameter of the rattan. The results that have been divided that will be processed into crafts. The only parts that can be used are hard outer skin, the inside must be removed using a special tool.
The first tool used was called the Hides, two specially formed blades were stuck on a piece of ironwood. The process of using this tool is called Manjangat, the rattan halves are inserted between the two blades and the inside faces the sharp blade. After being pulled slowly, we could see the inside had been filled until the keys had become thinner.
After it is thin enough, the bar is inserted into the next tool called Balikat Jangat. Slightly different from before, this tool serves to cut the two sides of the rattan blades to the same size from end to end. Without matching rattan wicker will become uncluttered and messy.
Next, a small knife called Langgei is used to scrape the inside until it’s really thin. Only the rags are used to protect the hands from the sharpness of the blades and the thinner toran, this process is eaten by Mikis.
The results of this process can only be used for rattan weaving or Manjawet. It takes days to put together the rattan sheets to form like a bag or hat, for a more varied motif and a larger shape like a bag it can take a week to make.
For this reason, the long process and lack of appreciation from the market have made the younger generation increasingly leave this job. Only certain people with passion or hobbies like what Tambi Herta said were still preserving one of these Dayak crafts.
Rattan crafts that have been completed, usually left in a souvenir shop in Palangkaraya or displayed at home and tourists who come directly to see the process can buy it. Sometimes his nieces also take part in exhibitions representing regions with their rattan products to Bali.
Coming to Kalimantan? Do not forget to buy handicrafts made from rattan as souvenirs for the family or even used alone. Some types of bags are also quite trendy to be worn in the market or to the office.