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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - Pua Kumbu: Sacred Blankets of the Saribas Iban

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm 
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Attachments:
File comment: 5. firefly closed showing the "teeth" with overlayed ruler.
firefly detail 3.jpg
firefly detail 3.jpg [ 81.92 KiB | Viewed 24094 times ]
File comment: 4. the jagged "teeth" which are the threads tied into minimum bundles of 6 pairs of threads and dyed white and black.
firefly detail 2.jpg
firefly detail 2.jpg [ 106.06 KiB | Viewed 24094 times ]
File comment: 3. firefly detail 1. Note the thin "tail" element
firefly detail 1.jpg
firefly detail 1.jpg [ 142.87 KiB | Viewed 24094 times ]
File comment: 2. detail of the skull basket pattern
sempuyong detail 3.jpg
sempuyong detail 3.jpg [ 175.87 KiB | Viewed 24094 times ]
File comment: 1. detail of the skull basket pattern
sempuyong detail 2.jpg
sempuyong detail 2.jpg [ 163.07 KiB | Viewed 24093 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:56 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:32 am 
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Dear John,

Again, I shall respond paragraphically:


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.

I am assuming that you are supposing that a Kelikut pattern is created by folding the warp to give a symmetrical design. That is not how the Saribas weave the Kelikut.

A Kelikut's first criteria is to have bands width-wise all along the main body. The second criteria is that the end accompaniments should not be repeated. This means that the warp should not be folded to create a symmetrical pattern. In the case of your Kelikut, the warp has been folded to create a symmetrical pattern. Which begs the question; is this really a Kelikut?

A Belumpong's first criteria is to have sections logged off, with an empty space in the middle. Empty spaces can be created by virtue of a symmetrical folded warp or by intentionally leaving a space between logged sections. The sizes of the logged sections need not be equal.

When the pattern is of bands width-wise all along the main body created by folding the warp with the resulting space in the middle, then what do we have? A Kelikut or a Belumpong? Your pua is a prime example of a pattern that does not quite meet the second criteria of a Kelikut and yet isn't exactly a Belumpong either. This is another enigmatic cloth, which adds to its mystery and beauty!



I am posting two pua (what would the Iban plural of "pua"be? Pua pua ?).

There is no plural for pua. It is a generic term which has no quantifying value.



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?

You're correct, John. This is a pua from the northern territories. Probably even Batang Ai. I really shouldn't comment on a pattern and tradition I am not familiar with, John.



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?

I am not sure if this is a Saribas cloth. The ara (selvedge) style looks suspiciously Skrang, a close neighbour of ours whose cloths are similar to ours except for a coarser execution and a preponderance for bigger motifs. Then again, many ancient Saribas cloths have similar styles. I need a closer inspection to comment properly. I like the anak buah side border motifs of human-like figures. The chocolate brown creates an elegant counterpoint to the main body of maroon.



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?

To answer adequately all the questions you posed, I would need to write a book soon :-)


John, I attach a photograph of a Bali Kelikut woven according to the strict rules of the Saribas.



Vernon


Attachments:
File comment: A modern Bali Kelikut where both end accompaniments are of different patterns.
DSC03072.JPG
DSC03072.JPG [ 67.78 KiB | Viewed 24090 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:57 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:52 pm 
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 Post subject: correction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:08 pm 
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I apologize for having to do this, but I think I had better clarify what I wrote about the minimum bundle of (warp) threads that were bound or ikatted.
I said the minimum (but for an exception I mention and post here) was 6 pairs of thread when I should better have said 6 paired threads. That is, what may appear as a single warp thread is actually a pair of threads. And the minimum width bundle is therefore better described as 3 paired threads or 6 threads. This width of 3 pairs makes a balanced serrated width line along the warp direction as can be seen in the picture of the 'tail' that I posted. Gavin in her book states essentially that the minimum width bundle is 6 (pairs) and is called a 'kayu'. Linggi in her book, 'Ties That Bind' does not mention paired threads but indicates that the strings on the warp are separated into groups of three. Since inspection of ikat cloths from any of the Iban regions shows that a 'single' thread is always a pair of threads, Linggi is probably implicitly assuming paired threads.

Incidentally, a pair of threads does not seem to be a twisted pair but rather two threads strung side by side as the warp was being laid.

Now, I post a picture of a Mualang skirt and a detail which shows 'tails' of 2 pairs of threads each rather than the "minimum" 3 pairs. You can see that two pairs produces a zigzag appearance. By the way - notice that widths are worked in widths of 2, 4 as well as 6 (and more where necessary on the rest of the skirt).

I have also seen this minimum of 2 pairs on other Mualang skirts and on a Mualang pua'. It seems to be a not uncommon feature in Mualang ikats and I am using that as a Mualang diagnostic until disproved or obviated.

If the 'pairs' bundle exists in Iban cloths or other Kalimantan Ibanic weavings, I have not noticed it to date.

By the way notice that in the 'tail' detail from the 'firefly' pua' posted previously, there are about 3 or 4 wefts to a length of the smallest details. At about 20 wefts/inch, this means that the tie was about 3 or 4 mm long. Quite a feat.

I was going to use the name "kain kebat" for the Mualang skirt but I do not know if that is how the Mualang refer to it. ?

Thanks for your patience

-John


Attachments:
File comment: Mualang skirt. 49" x 29.5". Handspun cotton and perhaps native dyes.
mualang 2.jpg
mualang 2.jpg [ 162.64 KiB | Viewed 24051 times ]
File comment: "tail" from a Mualang skirt showing 2 pairs of threads.
tail.jpg
tail.jpg [ 180.47 KiB | Viewed 24051 times ]
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 Post subject: Questions for Vernon
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:19 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Questions for Vernon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:47 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:37 am 
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 Post subject: Pua kumbu questions
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:38 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Pua kumbu questions
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:58 am 
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File comment: Buah Rusa (The Deer) by master weaver Julia Indai Nan Tau Muntang Tau Nengkenang, Pelandok, Paku, Saribas. Circa 1920s. Her first pua, 60 kayu.
buah rusa.JPG
buah rusa.JPG [ 72.63 KiB | Viewed 23912 times ]
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:48 am 
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File comment: Buah Rusa (The Deer) by master weaver Julia Indai Nan Tau Muntang Tau Nengkenang, Pelandok, Paku, Saribas. Circa 1920s. Her first pua, 60 kayu.
buah rusa.JPG
buah rusa.JPG [ 72.63 KiB | Viewed 23894 times ]
File comment: The Mulong Merangau (The Weeping Palm) of the Gawai Burong by Julia Indai Nan Tau Muntang Tau Nengkebang, Pelandok, Paku, Saribas. Circa 1940s. Her last pua, 109 kayu.
pua016.jpg
pua016.jpg [ 272.82 KiB | Viewed 23894 times ]
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File comment: Close up: Julia 1937
pua016 (2).jpg
pua016 (2).jpg [ 22.68 KiB | Viewed 23892 times ]
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:13 pm 
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