In Majorca, the production of “Llengües” - “cloth of tongues” - has been handed down from one generation to the next for centuries and it remains at the very heart of the island’s culture and traditions today.
Originating from the oriental ikat, a technique in which the yarn is dyed before weaving, the llengües reached Europe through the Silk Route and its name refers to its design that resembles tongues of fire.
The craft gained popularity with the French revolution when many artisans sought refuge in Majorca, bringing their know-how with them. A few years later traces of Majorcan silk were to be found on the furniture and walls of many large stately homes on the island. The widespread use of cotton in the 19th century made the production of Llengues much more affordable and the fabric became equally as popular with the more middle-class population of the island; used for towels, tablecloths, curtains, rugs, upholstery and bedding.
The llengües is the perfect example of a craft that has reinvented itself over the years whilst preserving its roots. Today, Majorcan looms still produce this handmade and colourful clothe in old family workshops using the same ancient ikat technique; and the roba de llengues is experiencing a new golden age, regularly appearing in glossy arts & crafts magazines and integrated into elegant interior designs with a Mediterranean flair.
Visitors to the island keen to learn more about the making of llengües can visit Teixits Vicens in Pollença, Bujosa in Santa Maria del Camí as well as Teixits Riera in Lloseta.
Have you seen this beautiful fabric before?