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 Post subject: Iban sungkits
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:54 pm 
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Location: east coast
Greetings everyone. I apologize for my absence from the forum. I have recently acquired two Iban sungkit textiles that may be of interest to others.

One is a very rare Borneo Iban "Dancing Figures" pua sungkit dating probably from the 1800's. Perhaps even earlier. I just got it back from a conservator who did marvelous reweaving restorations in several small places. The "dancing figures" are morphed versions (my interpretation) of Indian dancers which even earlier weavers must have seen on 16th or 17th century imported Indan cloths although no traces of them seem to be found in Borneo. But then, organic matter has a relatively short lifetime in Borneo's heat and humidy and longhouse fires and such.

The other piece is skirt which is a combination sungkit in the main field and ikat in the borders. It is difficult to photograph. I have also provided a close up.


Attachments:
File comment: dancing figures from an old Indian cloth such as might have been seen long ago by Iban weavers
dancing figures from an old Indian cloth.jpg
dancing figures from an old Indian cloth.jpg [ 109.1 KiB | Viewed 6568 times ]
File comment: "Dancing figures" pua sungkit. 82.5" x 43.4"
sungkit  dancing figures.jpg
sungkit dancing figures.jpg [ 110.02 KiB | Viewed 6568 times ]
File comment: A "kain sunkgit" . 41.5" x 17"
iban kain sungkit.jpg
iban kain sungkit.jpg [ 112.02 KiB | Viewed 6568 times ]
File comment: close-up of the combination sungkit and ikat skirt.
detail.JPG
detail.JPG [ 99.59 KiB | Viewed 6568 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:22 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Congratulations, John!

That is a very fine Saribas pua sungkit.

Two distinctive regional identifiers stand out:

1. The red/white/deep blue vertical selvedges.
2. The top and bottom fringes have twinings, almost always a marker of Saribas craftsmanship.

What you have here is a sungkit version of the pua kumbu in the photo I attach below, which is an important (read: rare) piece of the Textile Museum's Iban material collection.


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textile museum washington dc collection.jpg
textile museum washington dc collection.jpg [ 317.65 KiB | Viewed 6532 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:34 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Details of the above photo from the Textile Museum:

Object ID: 2000.22.3

Object Name: pua kumbu

Made: Malaysia ~ Sarawak ~ Saribas area

Culture: Iban

Language: Austronesian Language ~ Malayic-Dayak Language ~ Ibanic language

Credit line: The Christensen Fund

Description: Pua kumbu constructed from 2 loom widths (A: 54.5 cm, B: 52 cm) hand sewn together with warp vertical. Worked in warp-faced plain weave with warp ikat (brown/red, dark brown/red, white) and weft twining (blue, white). Areas of warp ikat shows bundles of multiple warps (3-4) and non-ikat areas show paired and tripled warps. Small areas of blue weft on 1 panel (18cm), otherwise all weft is brown. Lateral borders of warp stripes with 3 stripes of warp ikat. Central field shows rows of anthropomorphic figures (see REMARKS). Weft twining both ends of textile, extending only to lateral border, with twining weft buries in round weave to selvedge. Warp fringe is twisted both ends with one end showing a kind of oblique interlacing of twisted fringe extending across both panels. (LMF 03/2007)

Materials: cotton ~ hand spun ~ natural dye

Structure/Technique: plain weave ~ warp-faced | warp ikat | weft twining

Edge Finish: loom width ~ selvedge | cut warp ends ~ twisted ~ oblique interlacing

Construction: 2 loom widths hand sewn together with stitching in zig-zag arrangement.

Yarn: warp

Fiber: cotton

Make-Up: z-spun, multiple

Count: 19/cm

Color: red/brown|dark red/brown | blue| white (natural)

Yarn: weft

Fiber: cotton

Make-Up: z-spun, multiple (blue only)

Count: 7/cm

Color: brown | some blue

Subject/Pattern: anthropomorphic figure

Function/Use: ritual textile

Remarks: regarding PATTERN from Gittinger, 2005, p.109: "the anthropomorphic figures on this cloth, a design called 'buah engkeramba', were once thought to be some of the most powerful motifs among the Iban. However, more recent research suggests they are just anthropomorphic figures of no special importance. As one Iban explained the pattern, "Weavers only made the pattern to take a break from producing power patterns" (cited in Gavin 2003, 282). The abstract forked" pattern that encloses the figures is known as 'buah gajai', whose interpretation is open to debate, possibly that of a bird (ibid., 290-291). The Iban revel in complexity of pattern that is bilaterally symmetrical, the tying of the pattern would have involved few pattern units. It would not have pleased the Iban desire for allusion and indirect communication, which they value so highly. For those of other cultures, however, the care with which the figures are rendered, revealing both male and female forms, tends to beguile the imagination."

Publication: p. 109, fig. 7.5

Gittinger, Mattiebelle. Textiles for This World and Beyond: Treasures From Insular Southeast Asia. Scala Publishers: London. 2005.

Exhibition: "Textiles for This World and Beyond: Textiles from Insular Southeast Asia" 04/01/2005 - 09/18/2005


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:44 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
More dancing figures at this thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1467


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2009_11_11_pua_02c_125.jpg
2009_11_11_pua_02c_125.jpg [ 58.2 KiB | Viewed 6525 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Thanks for you comments Vernon. Would you have any idea of the age of my "dancing figures" sungkit? It is worn quite thin.


vernonkeditjolly wrote:
Congratulations, John!

That is a very fine Saribas pua sungkit.

Two distinctive regional identifiers stand out:

1. The red/white/deep blue vertical selvedges.
2. The top and bottom fringes have twinings, almost always a marker of Saribas craftsmanship.

What you have here is a sungkit version of the pua kumbu in the photo I attach below, which is an important (read: rare) piece of the Textile Museum's Iban material collection.

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John


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
I checked out your link also. I am very intriqued by the "dancing figures" you show on an ikat pua. I have never seen such before. They seem quite literal. Is it a newer piece? Fascinating. We learn more and more with each of your postings.








vernonkeditjolly wrote:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
john wrote:
Thanks for you comments Vernon. Would you have any idea of the age of my "dancing figures" sungkit? It is worn quite thin.


vernonkeditjolly wrote:
Congratulations, John!

That is a very fine Saribas pua sungkit.

Two distinctive regional identifiers stand out:

1. The red/white/deep blue vertical selvedges.
2. The top and bottom fringes have twinings, almost always a marker of Saribas craftsmanship.

What you have here is a sungkit version of the pua kumbu in the photo I attach below, which is an important (read: rare) piece of the Textile Museum's Iban material collection.



Hi John

I would hazard a guess at around 120 years, maybe older.

Is carbon dating possible on recent (within the last 200 years) material?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
john wrote:
I checked out your link also. I am very intriqued by the "dancing figures" you show on an ikat pua. I have never seen such before. They seem quite literal. Is it a newer piece? Fascinating. We learn more and more with each of your postings.

vernonkeditjolly wrote:


I was informed by the owner of this piece that it was woven by his wife's great-grandmother. That's four generations. Taking a generation at roughly twenty five years, we're talking authorship of a good hundred years ago. Maybe even earlier. The owner couldn't come up with specific dates as the memory of such things died with the previous generation.

The figures are quite literal. I've never seen such figures myself before. Again, the owner has no understanding of what the figures mean.


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