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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:32 pm 
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Hi Vernon,
I had three very special Pua (personal favorites), that I held onto for a very long time and only agreed to finally sell them in the last few years. This is one of those three (along with the first one I posted). Hand spun, rich color, with clear precise ikat motifs. I believe this one came from the Rajang/Balleh area. It was recently published in the "Art of Indonesian Textiles", the EM Bakwin Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I'll try to find the images of the third one and post it asap.
Regards,
Mark


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 7b detail
7b.jpg
7b.jpg [ 485.25 KiB | Viewed 15809 times ]
File comment: Pua 7a
7a.jpg
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:37 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Mark Johnson wrote:
Hi Vernon,
I had three very special Pua (personal favorites), that I held onto for a very long time and only agreed to finally sell them in the last few years. This is one of those three (along with the first one I posted). Hand spun, rich color, with clear precise ikat motifs. I believe this one came from the Rajang/Balleh area. It was recently published in the "Art of Indonesian Textiles", the EM Bakwin Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I'll try to find the images of the third one and post it asap.
Regards,
Mark


Hi Mark

Now THAT is a really breath-taking piece! Love the use of colours and how the indigo highlights the main design against the sea of morinda. Really, really impressive. Very powerful and stark images. Alas, I have no idea what it means. The main design is familiar but we only use something quite similar to it as accompaniments to our main motifs. And I wouldn't think the weaver meant to say what I think she is saying, from a Saribas perspective. It's too subjective. I'm sorry i couldn't be of further help on the symbolism. Nevertheless, the weaver's statement strikes me as powerful, strong and almost majestic.

Vernon


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:29 pm 
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Pamela

I attach four pics of the Berinjan type pattern for your reference. They are all from the Saribas; from different periods and of different styles. Seeing these exaggerated and embellished pieces, you'll probably understand why I was so excited seeing yours, which is older than any of mine and bears a more primal and robust design. Should ever a comparative study be undertaken of the Berinjan pattern, your piece would most definitely be a prime and important piece.


John

Yours is a fine example of the quintessential Berinjan pattern, only just slightly later than Pamela's. Equally important for its flawless execution.


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DSC03509.JPG
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DSC03502.JPG
DSC03502.JPG [ 74.01 KiB | Viewed 15783 times ]
DSC03496.JPG
DSC03496.JPG [ 78.32 KiB | Viewed 15783 times ]
DSC03523.JPG
DSC03523.JPG [ 67.37 KiB | Viewed 15783 times ]
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:56 pm 
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John

Remember the unique and bold style I mentioned that characterised your ceremonial pole?

Have a look at this. Very similar style. It's probably from the same hand or at the very least, same lineage.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:11 pm 
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Vernon

Thank you so very much for sharing four of the Berinjan type pattern from your collection and linking in John's fine example so that I could set mine in context. So often one only see one example of a pattern and yet it enables one to view with fresh eyes when it is possible to compare and contrast a group. You mention that yours are from different periods. Can you be kind enough to indicate the different periods for me?

I think this is a time for opening multiple windows of this thread and then tiling the results to really get the most out of the comparison.

I would always be happy to participate/support any comparative study of the Berinjan type pattern.


Mark,

What a stunning pua you posted (your last above). Vernon's comment 'powerful, strong and almost majestic' really sums it up.

Thank you all, Mark, John and particularly Vernon, for this feast of wonderful textiles and what a testament to their creators. Wonderfully skilful technique but so much more as they are full of thoughts, dreams, culture and traditions of the weavers. We can feel this even when we may know little about that 'soul' incorporated in the weaving but how we appreciate it when you, Vernon, are able to unlock some of this meaning for us. Thank you also for making it clear that the meaning of the pua from other areas than the Saribas is as another language or tradition.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:43 am 
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Dear Vernon,

Thank you for your very detailed and generous response to my question. I hope that you will forgive my tardiness in getting back to you. This is a busy time for me.

Your response has made me see that my question was more complex than I had perceived. It confirms, however, one of my major points, viz. that naming systems are important to attend to, both in individual traditions and comparatively.

It is not entirely clear to me whether my comparison of Batak and Iban naming systems still holds on the basis of your additional information, but I think that the framework of the comparison still stands. I think that I was most focused on which aspects of naming are individual and which socially prescribed or attained.

Your emphasis on the spiritual dimensions of textile naming is very important and it is one which is left out of my discussion. Perhaps other members of the forum can add their knowledge about spiritual dimensions of textile names in other Indonesian traditions. That would be very interesting!

However, I caution against collapsing the spiritual dimensions of textile naming with the spiritual dimensions of textile production. Throughout the archipelago, many if not all aspects of textile-making have spiritual qualities (I think that your reference to the spiritual associations with knots is very exciting -- the Batak, for example, read -- in the past at any rate -- much into the twisting of yarns together as promoting harmony between two people; it makes sense, doesn't it?) and this is also an important theme for comparative purposes.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:53 pm 
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Sandra Niessen wrote:
Dear Vernon,

Thank you for your very detailed and generous response to my question. I hope that you will forgive my tardiness in getting back to you. This is a busy time for me.

Your response has made me see that my question was more complex than I had perceived. It confirms, however, one of my major points, viz. that naming systems are important to attend to, both in individual traditions and comparatively.

It is not entirely clear to me whether my comparison of Batak and Iban naming systems still holds on the basis of your additional information, but I think that the framework of the comparison still stands. I think that I was most focused on which aspects of naming are individual and which socially prescribed or attained.

Your emphasis on the spiritual dimensions of textile naming is very important and it is one which is left out of my discussion. Perhaps other members of the forum can add their knowledge about spiritual dimensions of textile names in other Indonesian traditions. That would be very interesting!

However, I caution against collapsing the spiritual dimensions of textile naming with the spiritual dimensions of textile production. Throughout the archipelago, many if not all aspects of textile-making have spiritual qualities (I think that your reference to the spiritual associations with knots is very exciting -- the Batak, for example, read -- in the past at any rate -- much into the twisting of yarns together as promoting harmony between two people; it makes sense, doesn't it?) and this is also an important theme for comparative purposes.



Dear Sandra

This is all too academic for me, I am afraid. I am but a layman with a tradition to sustain and protect. I can explain to you how we name our patterns and which patterns have spiritual significance and which don't. And when I read a glaring inaccuracy or oversight, I correct it, or at the very least, question the basis of such inaccuracies. I wouldn't presume to enter into an academic discourse that is clearly out of my reach :-)

Nevertheless, this is all very exciting for me! Thank you for asking these questions which now will keep me up all night, and probably for the next few nights too!

Vernon


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:22 pm 
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Hi Vernon,

In the end, sustaining and protecting the tradition is the thing that really counts and alongside that, academic discourse withers into insignificance. So do get some sleep!

Do you have plans and strategies for sustaining and protecting?

I hope that my book may be used for that. Academic though it is, I have also tried to make it accessible and valuable for weavers (through the pictures of the textiles and the descriptions of the techniques). Now I have to find a way to get it to the weavers. That is my next project.

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www.bataktextiles.com
http://bataktextiles.blogspot.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on Pua
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:20 pm 
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Hi Mark - A very fine cloth. I would have found it hard to part with. And working from a fairly porous memory, I believe there was a piece similar to that design in Margret Linggi's "Ties that Bind" and it was call Gigi Antu (Demon's teeth). Or am I misremembering it?

-John



Mark Johnson wrote:
Hello Vernon,
Thank you very much for your comments and insights on Iban Pua cloth. I really enjoyed reading them, especially your comments on Trudy Gavin's book. I have never bought into her theories about Iban motifs.

I look forward to seeing more of your family's collection. And of course, any information or history you can provide.

I would like to ask you about this Pua. Can you tell me anything about the motifs? I heard so many different stories over the years.

Best Regards,
Mark

PS: I like John's idea of forming a Pua appreciation society! I'm in!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:55 pm 
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Hi Vernon - I think I agree with Pamela's suggestion about starting new threads but not sure what the best approach would be. I hope this one is not getting hopelessly tangled.

I am responding to your response about my posting of a "sepepat" with some questions and a new picture or two.

First I am posting a pua' I'm hoping you can tell me more about. The only other one I have ever seen is in Margaret Linggi's collection in the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. In her book "Ties that Bind" she calls it 'Bali Kelikut' and says it is a name found in oral tradition songs "timang" of the Iban and is a 'rare piece' of 'high category'. See pages 173 and 174 of the first edition of her book - the one in which she places estimated prices for each one. The second edition omits prices and is somewhat reorganized and the pua' is pictured on page 105. Margaret does not mention whether it is Saribas or not.

Also, I don´t recognize the elements in the side borders on my piece?

You had mentioned that a piece I posted and called a 'Sepepat' which I understand means 'firefly' should properly be called 'Berinjan Selempepat.' However, and I am not contradicting you, I note that Margaret Linggi and Trudy Gavin for example also use the name 'sepepat' for this design. Could you clarify what this all means? Trudy in her book seems to feel the Margaret's information is unreliable.

And this brings up a fundamental question for collectors such as I. We, who are not Iban or even vaguely related, and have no, or very little, deep first hand knowledge of this art, must perforce rely on those who do such as yourself, Margaret Linggi , Haddon & Start, Trudy Gavin, Edric Ong, Michael Heppell and such and our various personal contacts. Given observations as early as those by Haddon & Start and affirmed by Trudy that different weavers may call the same pattern by different names, particularly in different areas, how likely is this to occur by weavers in say the same river system? And through generations in the same local?

And it is another of my hopes that these magnificent weavings will really be viewed as art, rather than items of mainly anthropological interest. Many viewers can respond deeply to religious paintings by the great masters of the Renaissance for example even though some may not even know much of the Catholic religion and the time out of which the masterpieces were created. On the other hand, those that do can have an even deeper and perhaps more profound response.

So perhaps it is that we non Iban collectors are in a similar position. With an open mind, we outsiders can appreciate the great Iban and Ibanic weavings but necessarily cannot have the deep and profound response to them as did those whose lived and were part of the iban culture during the period in which they were being not just woven but in which they formed so central a part of the cultural and religious life.

In which case, information such as design name, 'praise name', rank, status, etc., can definitely add to the understanding and deepen the appreciation of a piece, but would 'the rose will still smell as sweet' without such information? I wonder.

I can't resist posting another pua which I believe is a "Rang Jugah" for your comments. I'll keep this up until you or the forum crys "uncle". Since you joined, this has been one of the best times I have had in a long time.

Well done again and don't underplay yourself. You are going to be the "go-to" guy for Iban information.

-John



vernonkeditjolly wrote:
john wrote:
Dear Vernon - what an absolute trove of treasures you are revealing! And that includes what I hope will eventually be a wider network of collectors of these incredible textiles. I have often wished there were some society or organization devoted to Borneo weavings as there are for Oriental Rugs and such. I know there must be a number of us collectors but I find it frustrating to locate them. I am hoping most deeply that your presence on the forum will fulfill such a hope so we can share these treasures at least in pictures and learn more about them.

Your heirloom pua , especially Sendi's strike deeply into my heart with their beauty and immense power. I felt these emotions when I first saw the weavings in Edric Ong's book during a sabbatical in Kuching. No other textiles among all the world's beautiful ones I have seen raise these same emotions in me although I collect a few other textiles of other cultures for their beauty.

I am afraid that you will now be bombarded with questions that I and other collectors have been wanting to ask someone who has close to firsthand knowledge. I hope we are not adding to your workload.

One of my questions popped up based on your pua Bali Bugau Kantu. What is the significance of the word "Kantu" in an Iban piece as I also collect pua from the Kantu or Kantu' (?) and other Kalimantan Ibanic groups.

Because you express an interest is seeing pua from other collectors, I post several here for your comments if you are so kind. I may have posted these elsewhere on the Forum site but this will save work for you I hope. The sepapat is also pictured in figure 47 page 119 in Gavin's Iban Ritual Textiles and was at one time in Beverly Birks Collection. I purchased it from Kent Watters several years ago.

I also post a "ritual pole pattern" because of your comments about that pattern. Published in Gavin's, "The women's warpath" (plate 97). I also purchased this from Kent Waters several years ago.

Finally at this time, I post a piece which I think is a "vine pattern"?. I wish the photo could do justice, It is an extremely rich deep red with very deep blacks. You feel like you could dive into the black. One of my favorites. I purchased it from a very excellent dealer in Kuching.

Naturally, the pictures are in reverse order to my mentions of them.

I have tried to keep to the forum requirements of less than 80K per picture so the details are not too well captured. I can post closeups if that helps.

I have a faily large collecton off pua and skirts from different Ibans (Saribas, Baleh, etc.) and Kalimantan Ibanic groups so I will not burden you with more unless you are interested. And if the Forum does not lose patience.

Vernon - again, I can not express well enough my pleasure at your joining the forum and providing links to your other offerings. I will devour them.

Thanks so much and keep posting!

-John



Dear John

Thank you for celebrating Sendi (Indai Gumbek) so lavishly. I believe Edric only published two prints of her works. But what fabulous prints they must have been to have affected you so deeply.

Bombard all you want, John. It is the very reason I am here in this forum; to share as much as I know with all of you who have taken such an interest in my material culture. Sendi would have wanted that, I am certain. You honour me and my people with your commitment to the preservation of my foremother's legacies in cloth. I too am learning from you in many ways.

The terms Bugau and Kantu were used interchangeably by the Saribas to mean 'enemy'. Up until my grandmother's day, I would often hear her refer to even traditional non-Iban enemies in the remoter parts of Sarawak as Bugau and Kantu. The Kantu, especially, were our most despised enemies. Very much like how the English and the French still ridicule one another today.

I have written an entry at my blog about the Bali Bugau Kantu. I hope it will answer your question.

http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com/2009/06/revenge-of-remi.html

Further background reading: http://gnmawar.wordpress.com/jerita-lama/iban-migration-peturun-iban/early-iban-migration-part-1/?ref=Guzels.TV

Now, on to your deliciously fabulous pieces!


The Ceremonial Pole

Gavin calls it the Sandau Liau in her book. It is actually the Lemba Bumbun, the fifth degree of the Gawai Burong series. Lovely piece from the Paku, Saribas, of the Classical Period. The uniquely individualistic style suggests provenance of either the Matop, Samu or Entanak tributaries. I have seen this style there before. Quite unique and aggressive in the use of bold motifs, almost loud and as if disregarding the norm of the day which was immaculate finery and understated symbolism. Unless you have the Ranyai or the Gerasi Papa, this is the highest ranked Saribas piece in your collection. :wink:


The Sepapat

John, may I offer a suggestion. The word Sepapat does not exist in proper Iban. The correct name would be Berinjan Selempepat. You have a masterpiece from the Layar, and from your description of it being of handspun yarn, plus the crude usage of just two ara of white and red, I'd hazard a guess and place it in the Old Period. Maybe even the Ancient. You cannot get more Saribas than this! A fine piece any museum would covet!


The Vine?

I am not qualified to comment on this piece as it is not from the Saribas. A Skrang piece? Or even the Balleh? At first glance, I thought it looked like the ubiquitous Rang Jugah, but after a closer inspection, I believe it not to be the Rang Jugah either. Perhaps this is a tengkebang pattern (new composition by the weaver)? I have not seen this pattern before. And for such a large cloth, I doubt the weaver would just weave innocuous vines. There are hidden treasures in this piece. Are the two side borders stitched to the main body? If they are, that is a pretty good indication that it's a very old piece. Quite ancient. I love the black too! Very dramatic! But I qualify myself. I cannot be certain about anything about this cloth whose provenance is beyond the scope of my tradition.

John, I'd love to see more of your pieces, especially those from the Saribas. It's Christmas for me already!

Vernon


Attachments:
File comment: Pua Rang Jugah. 90" x 46.5". Fine handspun cotton and native dyes. 92warp threads/in x 19weft threads/in
rang jugah.jpg
rang jugah.jpg [ 77.83 KiB | Viewed 15740 times ]
File comment: Pua Bali Kelikut. Natural dyes and hanspun cotton. 15 wefts/inch x 64 warps/inch. 74” x 33”.
pua Bali Kelikut.jpg
pua Bali Kelikut.jpg [ 79.03 KiB | Viewed 15740 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Posts: 132
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
john wrote:
Hi Vernon - I think I agree with Pamela's suggestion about starting new threads but not sure what the best approach would be. I hope this one is not getting hopelessly tangled.

I am responding to your response about my posting of a "sepepat" with some questions and a new picture or two.

First I am posting a pua' I´m hoping you can tell me more about. The only other one I have ever seen is in Margaret Linggi´s collection in the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. In her book 'Ties that Bind' she calls it 'Bali Kelikut' and says it is a name found in oral tradition songs "timang" of the Iban and is a 'rare piece' of 'high category'. See pages 173 and 174 of the first edition of her book - the one in which she places estimated prices for each one. The second edition omits prices and is somewhat reorganized and the pua' is pictured on page 105. Margaret does not mention whether it is Saribas or not.

Also, I don´t recognize the elements in the side borders on my piece?

You had mentioned that a piece I posted and called a 'Sepepat' which I understand means 'firefly' should properly be called 'Berinjan Selempepat.' However, and I am not contradicting you, I note that Margaret Linggi and Trudy Gavin for example also use the name 'sepepat' for this design. Could you clarify what this all means? Trudy in her book seems to feel the Margaret's information is unreliable.

And this brings up a fundamental question for collectors such as I. We, who are not Iban or even vaguely related, and have no, or very little, deep first hand knowledge of this art, must perforce rely on those who do such as yourself, Margaret Linggi , Haddon & Start, Trudy Gavin, Edric Ong, Michael Heppell and such and our various personal contacts. Given observations as early as those by Haddon & Start and affirmed by Trudy that different weavers may call the same pattern by different names, particularly in different areas, how likely is this to occur by weavers in say the same river system? And through generations in the same local?

And it is another of my hopes that these magnificent weavings will really be viewed as art, rather than items of mainly anthropological interest. Many viewers can respond deeply to religious paintings by the great masters of the Renaissance for example even though some may not even know much of the Catholic religion and the time out of which the masterpieces were created. On the other hand, those that do can have an even deeper and perhaps more profound response.

So perhaps it is that we non Iban collectors are in a similar position. With an open mind, we outsiders can appreciate the great Iban and Ibanic weavings but necessarily cannot have the deep and profound response to them as did those whose lived and were part of the iban culture during the period in which they were being not just woven but in which they formed so central a part of the cultural and religious life.

In which case, information such as design name, 'praise name', rank, status, etc., can definitely add to the understanding and deepen the appreciation of a piece, but would 'the rose will still smell as sweet' without such information? I wonder.

I can't resist posting another pua which I believe is a "Rang Jugah" for your comments. I'll keep this up until you or the forum crys "uncle". Since you joined, this has been one of the best times I have had in a long time.

Well done again and don't underplay yourself. You are going to be the "go-to" guy for Iban information.

-John



vernonkeditjolly wrote:
john wrote:
Dear Vernon - what an absolute trove of treasures you are revealing! And that includes what I hope will eventually be a wider network of collectors of these incredible textiles. I have often wished there were some society or organization devoted to Borneo weavings as there are for Oriental Rugs and such. I know there must be a number of us collectors but I find it frustrating to locate them. I am hoping most deeply that your presence on the forum will fulfill such a hope so we can share these treasures at least in pictures and learn more about them.

Your heirloom pua , especially Sendi's strike deeply into my heart with their beauty and immense power. I felt these emotions when I first saw the weavings in Edric Ong's book during a sabbatical in Kuching. No other textiles among all the world's beautiful ones I have seen raise these same emotions in me although I collect a few other textiles of other cultures for their beauty.

I am afraid that you will now be bombarded with questions that I and other collectors have been wanting to ask someone who has close to firsthand knowledge. I hope we are not adding to your workload.

One of my questions popped up based on your pua Bali Bugau Kantu. What is the significance of the word "Kantu" in an Iban piece as I also collect pua from the Kantu or Kantu' (?) and other Kalimantan Ibanic groups.

Because you express an interest is seeing pua from other collectors, I post several here for your comments if you are so kind. I may have posted these elsewhere on the Forum site but this will save work for you I hope. The sepapat is also pictured in figure 47 page 119 in Gavin's Iban Ritual Textiles and was at one time in Beverly Birks Collection. I purchased it from Kent Watters several years ago.

I also post a "ritual pole pattern" becaue of your comments about that pattern. Published in Gavin's, "The women's warpath" (plate 97). I also purchased this from Kent Waters several years ago.

Finally at this time, I post a piece which I think is a "vine pattern"?. I wish the photo could do justice, It is an extremely rich deep red with very deep blacks. You feel like you could dive into the black. One of my favorites. I purchased it from a very excellent dealer in Kuching.

Naturally, the pictures are in reverse order to my mentions of them.

I have tried to keep to the forum requirements of less than 80K per picture so the details are not too well captured. I can post closeups if that helps.

I have a faily large collecton off pua and skirts from different Ibans (Saribas, Baleh, etc.) and Kalimantan Ibanic groups so I will not burden you with more unless you are interested. And if the Forum does not lose patience.

Vernon - again, I can not express well enough my pleasure at your joining the forum and providing links to your other offerings. I will devour them.

Thanks so much and keep posting!

-John



Dear John

Thank you for celebrating Sendi (Indai Gumbek) so lavishly. I believe Edric only published two prints of her works. But what fabulous prints they must have been to have affected you so deeply.

Bombard all you want, John. It is the very reason I am here in this forum; to share as much as I know with all of you who have taken such an interest in my material culture. Sendi would have wanted that, I am certain. You honour me and my people with your commitment to the preservation of my foremother's legacies in cloth. I too am learning from you in many ways.

The terms Bugau and Kantu were used interchangeably by the Saribas to mean 'enemy'. Up until my grandmother's day, I would often hear her refer to even traditional non-Iban enemies in the remoter parts of Sarawak as Bugau and Kantu. The Kantu, especially, were our most despised enemies. Very much like how the English and the French still ridicule one another today.

I have written an entry at my blog about the Bali Bugau Kantu. I hope it will answer your question.

http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com/2009/06/revenge-of-remi.html

Further background reading: http://gnmawar.wordpress.com/jerita-lama/iban-migration-peturun-iban/early-iban-migration-part-1/?ref=Guzels.TV

Now, on to your deliciously fabulous pieces!


The Ceremonial Pole

Gavin calls it the Sandau Liau in her book. It is actually the Lemba Bumbun, the fifth degree of the Gawai Burong series. Lovely piece from the Paku, Saribas, of the Classical Period. The uniquely individualistic style suggests provenance of either the Matop, Samu or Entanak tributaries. I have seen this style there before. Quite unique and aggressive in the use of bold motifs, almost loud and as if disregarding the norm of the day which was immaculate finery and understated symbolism. Unless you have the Ranyai or the Gerasi Papa, this is the highest ranked Saribas piece in your collection. :wink:


The Sepapat

John, may I offer a suggestion. The word Sepapat does not exist in proper Iban. The correct name would be Berinjan Selempepat. You have a masterpiece from the Layar, and from your description of it being of handspun yarn, plus the crude usage of just two ara of white and red, I'd hazard a guess and place it in the Old Period. Maybe even the Ancient. You cannot get more Saribas than this! A fine piece any museum would covet!


The Vine?

I am not qualified to comment on this piece as it is not from the Saribas. A Skrang piece? Or even the Balleh? At first glance, I thought it looked like the ubiquitous Rang Jugah, but after a closer inspection, I believe it not to be the Rang Jugah either. Perhaps this is a tengkebang pattern (new composition by the weaver)? I have not seen this pattern before. And for such a large cloth, I doubt the weaver would just weave innocuous vines. There are hidden treasures in this piece. Are the two side borders stitched to the main body? If they are, that is a pretty good indication that it's a very old piece. Quite ancient. I love the black too! Very dramatic! But I qualify myself. I cannot be certain about anything about this cloth whose provenance is beyond the scope of my tradition.

John, I'd love to see more of your pieces, especially those from the Saribas. It's Christmas for me already!

Vernon




Dear John

Allow me to respond paragraphically:

First I am posting a pua' I´m hoping you can tell me more about. The only other one I have ever seen is in Margaret Linggi´s collection in the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. In her book "Ties that Bind" she calls it 'Bali Kelikut' and says it is a name found in oral tradition songs "timang" of the Iban and is a 'rare piece' of 'high category'. See pages 173 and 174 of the first edition of her book - the one in which she places estimated prices for each one. The second edition omits prices and is somewhat reorganized and the pua' is pictured on page 105. Margaret does not mention whether it is Saribas or not.

I do not have Ties That Bind on hand. It´s in my library back in Kuching, so I´m afraid I can´t refer to the pics you mention.

But I can refer you to this essential reading to better understand the Kelikut:

http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com/2009/07/bali-kelikut.html


Also, I don´t recognize the elements in the side borders on my piece?

And unfortunately, neither do I. From a quick reading of the motifs, I see half lizards and insects and an omen bird. But I can't be certain as I very much suspect this piece is from the Balleh where their language of motifs is quite different from ours.

It´s an old Bali Kelikut, and the empty space in the middle does not refer to the same kind of 'empty space´ associated with the Bali Belumpong. It´s quite common to see such spaces on pua where the pattern is repeated by folding the warp into two and then tying the pattern on two sets of warp bundles simultaneously which creates a mirror image once unfolded; which is the case here. It would be a totally different matter if the Kelikut lines were woven without folding the warp into two and where the end accompaniments are different and not repeated and a space was intentionally left empty in the middle. Then the weaver would have meant to weave both a Kelikut AND a Belumpong.


You had mentioned that a piece I posted and called a 'Sepepat' which I understand means 'firefly' should properly be called 'Berinjan Selempepat.' However, and I am not contradicting you, I note that Margaret Linggi and Trudy Gavin for example also use the name 'sepepat' for this design. Could you clarify what this all means? Trudy in her book seems to feel the Margaret´s information is unreliable.

Sepepat is indeed Iban for firefly. But it is coarse Iban, or shall we say, common cockney Iban. The correct and formal manner to refer to such a grand design is SELEMPEPAT. Like in English, one would say WOULDN´T but one would write WOULD NOT. Semantics, perhaps, but we Saribas Iban are particular with our language and accent. Maybe that´s why the Bible was translated into Saribas Iban and the Iban spoken on the news in Sarawak is Saribas Iban. Like Queen´s English is the official BBC English. Sepepat is not wrong, it is merely rough.

And it is incomplete if referring to the design as the design does include another integral pattern: the Berinjan. Berinjan comes from the word rinjan or renjan (both applicable) which means steep. It simply means 'steep-like'. Berinjan Selempepat therefore means The Steeplike Firefly, alluding to the zig zag manner in which the firefly courses through the air.


And this brings up a fundamental question for collectors such as I. We, who are not Iban or even vaguely related, and have no, or very little, deep first hand knowledge of this art, must perforce rely on those who do such as yourself, Margaret Linggi , Haddon & Start, Trudy Gavin, Edric Ong, Michael Heppell and such and our various personal contacts. Given observations as early as those by Haddon & Start and affirmed by Trudy that different weavers may call the same pattern by different names, particularly in different areas, how likely is this to occur by weavers in say the same river system? And through generations in the same local?

Generations in the same locale as well as weavers in the same river system will sustain a design name. To change the name of a design is unheard of and considered disrespectful bordering on the ignorant. To enhance a name (i.e. add to an already existing name, e.g. from Bugau Kantu to Bali Bugau Kantu) is allowed but seldom done UNLESS the weaver doing it is of much repute.


And it is another of my hopes that these magnificent weavings will really be viewed as art, rather than items of mainly anthropological interest. Many viewers can respond deeply to religious paintings by the great masters of the Renaissance for example even though some may not even know much of the Catholic religion and the time out of which the masterpieces were created. On the other hand, those that do can have an even deeper and perhaps more profound response.

So perhaps it is that we non Iban collectors are in a similar position. With an open mind, we outsiders can appreciate the great Iban and Ibanic weavings but necessarily cannot have the deep and profound response to them as did those whose lived and were part of the iban culture during the period in which they were being not just woven but in which they formed so central a part of the cultural and religious life.

In which case, information such as design name, 'praise name', rank, status, etc., can definitely add to the understanding and deepen the appreciation of a piece, but would 'the rose will still smell as sweet' without such information? I wonder.


The whole argument of viewing textiles from an ethnocentric viewpoint versus that of the universal observer has been a mainstay of most anthropological lectures and the subject of almost all university syllabus. I am fortunate because I enjoy pua kumbu both for their cultural significance as well as their aesthetic beauty; because I know what the patterns mean and because I appreciate art, I see them through my own kaleidoscope of colours and experiences.


I can't resist posting another pua which I believe is a "Rang Jugah" for your comments.


The Rang Jugah is a pattern indigenous to the northern territories, and quite common in those parts. Every weaver who sees herself as having achieved some degree of status in her local community would attempt the Rang Jugah. Linggi and Gavin have gone to town about the pattern and there is little I can add to the subject.

The piece you posted is a good Rang Jugah type and looks pretty complete.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Is this the Kelikut or the Belumpong? Or a hybrid of both patterns? If so, what then should it be called?

I do not know.

It certainly began as a Belumpong, but then it developed into a Kelikut. And to add to the mystery, the lines typical of the Kelikut were not woven by the ikat method but were woven using the supplementary weft technique.

Any thoughts?


Attachments:
DSC03762.JPG
DSC03762.JPG [ 161.36 KiB | Viewed 15720 times ]
DSC03768.JPG
DSC03768.JPG [ 158.15 KiB | Viewed 15720 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:36 pm 
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Sandra Niessen wrote:
Hi Vernon,

In the end, sustaining and protecting the tradition is the thing that really counts and alongside that, academic discourse withers into insignificance. So do get some sleep!

Do you have plans and strategies for sustaining and protecting?


I hope that my book may be used for that. Academic though it is, I have also tried to make it accessible and valuable for weavers (through the pictures of the textiles and the descriptions of the techniques). Now I have to find a way to get it to the weavers. That is my next project.


Dear Sandra

No. Not yet, anyway. And I am the first to admit how deplorable this is. Here I am shouting how important it is we sustain and protect our tradition and yet when asked THE question, I stand a beggar.

Help!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:03 pm 
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Wow Vernon on your Kelikut? Belumpong?. I have never seen a pua such as that. But because the design is symmetrical as having been folded and then tied, would it not have begun as a kelikut rather then belumpong? I ask for my instruction not in argument.

And thanks for your other comments on my posting.

I am posting two pua (what would the Iban plural of "pua"be? Pua pua ?). One, according to Trudy's book, is a "skull basket" or sempuong pattern. I think it is either from the Baleh region or a Baleh design if that makes sense? Comments?

The other pua I think is called Buah Berasok or interlocking pattern. It has very fine and clear detail work. I have it cataloged as Saribas. Comments?

If possible Vernon, and things I would like to know more about, would be the status of a piece and what ceremonies and such it would have been appropriate for. Or not appropriate for in case that is easier.

As you BEGIN TO WRITE YOUR BOOK I think it would be a help and education to other collectors and the world to know such information and I would encourage you to provide that before all such knowledge is lost.

I have read as much as I can find about the Iban and Ibanic peoples starting with the earliest sources. What has always puzzled me is the paucity of information published even by anthropologists regarding these weavings which as far as I can gather were practically central to Iban life. I wonder if Iban life and culture can even be really understood without knowledge such as yours. Lacking such knowledge, it is to me like discussing anatomy as way to understand a living human being but barely mentioning the heart and brain.

Now I, and I am sure other collectors, particularly if one visits dealers say in Kuching or Bali, have seen very many pua which artistically I consider very poor. Muddy, streaky brown color, very shaky ikat work details, uneven composition, etc. It is natural that not all weavers can be absolute masters of the art.

But if these, what I would call artistically lower quality pua, were in fact used in ceremonies, would they have the same "power" as what I think of as the masterpieces? In other words, what did the Iban really value in a pua?

Keep posting Vernon. Your pieces are treats for eye, soul, and mind.

-John


Attachments:
File comment: Pua interlocking pattern or Buah Berasok. 76" x 34.75". 120 warps/in x 30 wefts/in. Handspun cotton and natural dyes except perhaps aniline dyes in borders.
interlocking pattern.jpg
interlocking pattern.jpg [ 81.27 KiB | Viewed 15694 times ]
File comment: Pua Sempuyong or "skull basket" pattern. 89" x 40.5". 104warps/in x 18 wefts/in. handspun cotton,natural dyes.
skull basket.jpg
skull basket.jpg [ 81.02 KiB | Viewed 15694 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:50 pm 
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John,

I wish we could see some details of these stunning pieces especially the 'Pua Sempuyong or "skull basket" pattern'. You could also post the images at 600 px wide (and I might turn a blind eye to a consequent increase in file size!)

Best,

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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