[Culture] Minahasa Traditional Weaving: Bentenan


Traditional weaving in Minahasa tribe exists since the 7th century using threads made from wood fibre (Fuya) from Sawukouw and Lahendong areas, from pineapple fibre (Koffo), much like Filipino’s Piña fibre and from bamboo fibres (Wa’u).


Since the 15th Century though, the threads use cotton fibre. Some area still have the traditional Minahasa motifs Bentenan (name after the village on the Southeast coast of the Minahasa region where it comes from).

The Bentenan Centre in Sonder Village is handled by Karema (Kreasi Masyarakat Sulawesi Utara or People’s Creation of North Sulawesi), with the owner and head of the foundation Mrs. Onny Markadi. The guide for the day is Mrs. Nana.


The process is called Ngeteng or rolling the cotton threads and layout them in a wooden frame (Plangkan). The threads come from Java island.

The double tied (ikat)


Usually the process use 2 to 3 colours for a pattern


The dye basin using chemical colouring for brighter colours instead of tie-dye with natural colours


The threads are layout to create the traditional Bentenan pattern (merambang).



Each treads then spin in a spindle before weaving


An older version of the traditional weaving tool


A newer version traditional weaving machine ATBM (Alat Tenun Bukan Mesin)



The process take about 5 to 6 months from tie-dying to weaving. For each pattern run can made 30 to 60 pieces. Each finished product is around 115 cm to 260 cm long in various length.


There are 7 Bantenan patterns; Tonilama (weaving using only white threads), Kokera (flowers pattern weaving with beads), Pinatikan (hexagon shape in net pattern), Sinoi (stripes pattern), Tinonton Mate (humanoid pattern), Tinompak Kuda (repeating motifs), Kaiwu Patola (India pattern).


Most fabric sold in Karema is printed on silk, polyester, cotton, chiffon etc. They’re affordable for clothes, scarf or just for collection. There are selected weaving cloths, but they are usually expensive.

Store Address:

Manado: Jl. Achmad Yani no.8, Sario-Manado
Phone (+62) 431 862-193

Jakarta (Karema Galery) : Jl. Biduri Blok i 2/24, Permata Hijau-Jakarta Selatan
Phone (+62) 21 548-2765 ; opening hours 09.00 am-16.00pm

Kawanua Aerotel (North Sulawesi Representative)
Jl. Cempaka Putih Raya No. 120 Jakarta Pusat 10510
Ph: +6221 424 87 68 ; opening hours 09.00 am-16.00pm

Manado Trade Center (MTC) : Ground Floor no. H 54,56-53,55. Phone: (+62) 431-881 9355

Workshop (Bentenan Center):

Desa Kolongan Atas Dua, Sonder
Phone (0431) 354-464

North Sulawesi trip:


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