While most people of West Sumatra are farmes there are some villages in which people are
well known for their skill in handycrafts. Those skills have become their main source of
Each village is typically identified for the handicraft it produces. However, when tow or
more villages produce the same thing, there are specific characteristics of the products,
making it possible to differentiate the work of one village from that of another.
Wood Carving, however, can be found in many villages through out the province, as the
traditional houses need carved wood for thier walls. Pandai sikek is famous for its wood
carving, which has been developed as home industry. It is also well known for Songket
weaving. The village belongs to the regency of Tanah Datar, and is only 12 km from
Bukittinggi on the foot of Mt. Singgalang. The motifs of wood carving in West Sumatra are
in generally based explicitly on models from nature, So, according to the motifs, names are
given to the carving are for example.
Songket is a traditional Minangkabau textile providing the material for the colour ful
customary costumes worn for all traditional ceremony.
Up to this day, the songket is still traditionally woven, using old manual looms, and generally
done by women or girls.
Like the traditional woodcarvings, the motifs, of songket clothes are drawn largerly from
things existing in nature. They often depict flora. The motifs are made by inserting
supplementary gold, silver or coloured thread amongs the basic thread woven into the loom.
Pandai Sikek is the most popular village for its beautiful Songket weaving (beside wood
Many villages in this province are well known for their traditional embroidery. Each village
produces its specifik embroidery that makes easy to defferentiate it from thee products of
other villages. Nareh, a village about 12 Km North of Pariaman, makes its motifs by using
gold or silver thread inserted on coloured velvet textile.
The embroidered textile is for the customary dress (Pakaian adat) either for women and as
well as for men. It is also used for decoration of bridal throne. Koto Gadang and Ampek
Angkek, two villages on the outskirts of Bukittinggi are also well known for their specifik
embroidery and lace.
The people of the village Andaleh in the regency of Lima Puluh Kota, located on the outskirt
of the town of Payakumbuh are skilled in plating rattan for basketry. Many design are
created to be things like lamp caps, schoolbags, hats, beauty cases and so on. The products
are sent to many cities through out Indonesia, especially Jakarta, and also to Malaysia and
Koto Gadang is the only village where a very few people still preserve the skill of silver
smithing. From silver wires they can make many things, such as necklaces, rings, and
badges. The silversmiths are also capable of producing miniatures, for example miniature
replicas of traditional Minangkabau houses, horse carts and so on.
The people of Sungaipua, a village on the slopes of Mt. Merapi, are well known as
blacksmiths. They can produce several items made of iron and other metals. Such item used
as farming tools ,short swords and knifes. In special instances, they are capable of
producing car spare parts, or of modifying parts according to need.