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 Post subject: Kantu and Iban textiles
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 7:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
I'm a new member and am not sure if this is the proper venue.

I collect old pua and bidang (kain kebat) from the Iban of Borneo and am particularly interested in those from the Kantu people who are a very small Ibanic group but who made spectacular pieces.

Does anyone have information about such pieces or the Kantu themselves? I have searched everywhere including the Library at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching.

Here's hoping.


-John

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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 8:54 pm 
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John

Welcome to the www.tribaltextiles.info/community forum!

So far we have not had many posts on textiles from Borneo but I am sure that I am not alone in being very happy to widen things out. Forum member Richard Mook posted a thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=150 very recently on a pua in his collection so I am sure that he will welcome your contributions on this subject.

In my own collection I have one pua and several bidang but I have not carried out any detailed identification of their various Iban group origins. Most were collected in Kuching from dealers but before the Tun Jugah Gallery was established as, regrettably, I have not been in Kuching for a few years.

Any chance that you could post a photo of a Kantu piece in your collection? I don't think that I recall hearing the name before. I have not yet set up my bibliography for Indonesia/Malaysia but I will have a root through my books to see if I can find anything.

Again, welcome!

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 Post subject: "The Borneo Project"
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 6:17 am 
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Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi John, and welcome to the Forum.

The Borneo Project, an NGO is located in Berkeley. I'll give the contact information below. The board of directors includes several people with experience in textiles of the Iban and other Borneo groups. On various occasions, the Project does sell textiles, which are horrid, but the baskets are still very beautiful.

You might also want to contact the UCBerkeley Hearst Museum of Anthropology. They have a large selection of Borneo textiles, and might still have some catalogs left over from years past. Sorry, but you'll have to go to the WEB for their contact information.

The Borneo Project

1771 Alcatraz Ave,
Berkeley, 94705
(510) 526-5106

I hope this information is useful for you and other Forum members.

Sandie


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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 6:34 am 
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Location: California, USA
Well I'm back with some more thoughts. If you are interested in the Kantu, one place to check would be the Summer Institute of Linguistics, an evangelical Christian group, with a strong presence in Borneo. They also do some ethnographic work, although their main task is translating the Bible into the world's languages.

They are not a group I would normally recommend, but even my husband hasn't heard of the Kantu, and they may have some information. My husband wrote a grammar of Bedayu, an Iban language, some years ago, and has maintained some contact with the Bedayu over the years.

I am not in anyway endorsing the Summer Institute of Linguistics, nor their desire to convert the world. But if it's information about the obscure, a missionary was probably there first.

We've never logged into their site, but once again, for some people the information available there may be invaluable.

Sandie


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 Post subject: Kantu textiles
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 3:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Hi Pamela - not sure if I am responding correctly because this is my first time at this.

However - thanks for your information and I'll also definitely follow up the other helpful replies. They are much appreciated. This is a great site and I also appreciate what must be a lot of work for you.

I am posting a picture of one of my Kantu pua pieces and one Kantu bidang. I think you will be entranced with their peculiar beauty. Same ikat techniques as the Ibans but a totally different "feeling" and I think more sophisticated design sense. I reduced the file sizes so the detail is not great.

I would be interested in seeing your pua and bidangs. I can give you my email if you want to post directly to me?

it is: jkreif01@tufts.edu

thanks again.

-John

Pamela wrote:
John

Welcome to the www.tribaltextiles.info/community forum!

So far we have not had many posts on textiles from Borneo but I am sure that I am not alone in being very happy to widen things out. Forum member Richard Mook posted a thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=150 very recently on a pua in his collection so I am sure that he will welcome your contributions on this subject.

In my own collection I have one pua and several bidang but I have not carried out any detailed identification of their various Iban group origins. Most were collected in Kuching from dealers but before the Tun Jugah Gallery was established as, regrettably, I have not been in Kuching for a few years.

Any chance that you could post a photo of a Kantu piece in your collection? I don't think that I recall hearing the name before. I have not yet set up my bibliography for Indonesia/Malaysia but I will have a root through my books to see if I can find anything.

Again, welcome!


Attachments:
File comment: this is a bidang or as some call them now "kain kebat".
(08) Kantu Kain Kebat (River Skeeters) 4.0.jpg
(08) Kantu Kain Kebat (River Skeeters) 4.0.jpg [ 115.9 KiB | Viewed 12328 times ]
File comment: A magnificent pua. It is somewhat narrower than the Iban pua so it might have served as a choulder cloth or "dangdong".
PK 2 Nabau.jpg
PK 2 Nabau.jpg [ 89 KiB | Viewed 12328 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
John

Thank you SO much for the photos posted! The designs are very strong and dynamic! I can see why you are so attracted to the Kantu ikat. At least we now have an idea of visually what we are looking for in any reference works.

Can you give us information on where in Borneo the Kantu are to be found?

I will have to have a root around in my boxes and baskets again and see what Iban textiles I can find. I will post anything I find onto the forum to share with everyone and hopefully encourage more participation as current members and the search engines pick things up in due course. What we need to do is to get some material posted to attract others. Takes a while but it has worked on some of our other topics. I am trying hard to build a community of textile enthusiasts here and really appreciate everyone's contributions.

Please can I ask anyone else who wants to share their collections of Iban/Kantu textiles to do so via this forum as part of this community building exercise - which hopefully will then reap rewards in the future for us all.

Thanks again!

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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 Post subject: ..oops...
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 5:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hello everyone,

Quelle fromage, as my niece says: I put my own telephone number in the information on the Borneo Project, so let me correct it now:

The Borneo Project 1771 Alcatraz Ave.
(510) 547-4258 Berkeley, CA 94705

I always welcome calls from Forum members in the vicinity, and everyone is cordially invited to drop in anytime to see our collection. HOWEVER...
back to the Kantu.

These textiles are amazing, and their visual appeal immediate. Is the second piece dyed with natural dyes? I'm aways interested in finding out what other groups do to get difficult colors (clear, unbright, unbrownish red, for example).

Also, do you know if the textiles echo designs on both basketry and/or shields, as they do amongst other Iban? Headhunting? Longhouse? Do keep us posted on your journey of discovery.

Sandie


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 Post subject: Re: "The Borneo Project"
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Thank you Sandie for your comments and information. I will follow up on them. I have been collecting ikats and sungkits from Borneo for several years now and am afraid I am hooked. I have an extensive collection but as textile collections probably have realized, I have long run out of space to display them so I am always glad to unroll them for the curious and interested. I have photographed them all - which number close to 100 or therebouts - and would be happy to post more pictures if that does not hog the space.

-John


Sandra Shamis wrote:
Hi John, and welcome to the Forum.

The Borneo Project, an NGO is located in Berkeley. I'll give the contact information below. The board of directors includes several people with experience in textiles of the Iban and other Borneo groups. On various occasions, the Project does sell textiles, which are horrid, but the baskets are still very beautiful.

You might also want to contact the UCBerkeley Hearst Museum of Anthropology. They have a large selection of Borneo textiles, and might still have some catalogs left over from years past. Sorry, but you'll have to go to the WEB for their contact information.

The Borneo Project

1771 Alcatraz Ave,
Berkeley, 94705
(510) 526-5106

I hope this information is useful for you and other Forum members.

Sandie

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John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Always happy to share my enjoyment with textiles.

The Kantu are one of the several small Ibanic groups along the Kapuas river in West Kalimantan. They would be sort of south of Sarawak. Bernard Selato's book "Hornbills and Dragons" has several nice maps in the front and has the Kantu territory identified.

I'm posting a couple more Kantu pieces with better resolution so the detail shows more. It these are too large, please let me know.

John - I am afraid that I have had to edit your images as they were way too large, sorry! Pamela

Pamela wrote:
John

Thank you SO much for the photos posted! The designs are very strong and dynamic! I can see why you are so attracted to the Kantu ikat. At least we now have an idea of visually what we are looking for in any reference works.

Can you give us information on where in Borneo the Kantu are to be found?

I will have to have a root around in my boxes and baskets again and see what Iban textiles I can find. I will post anything I find onto the forum to share with everyone and hopefully encourage more participation as current members and the search engines pick things up in due course. What we need to do is to get some material posted to attract others. Takes a while but it has worked on some of our other topics. I am trying hard to build a community of textile enthusiasts here and really appreciate everyone's contributions.

Please can I ask anyone else who wants to share their collections of Iban/Kantu textiles to do so via this forum as part of this community building exercise - which hopefully will then reap rewards in the future for us all.

Thanks again!


Attachments:
File comment: A Kantu skirt. Aniline trade threads. Early 20th century. 47" x 21".
kantu_beaut_a.jpg
kantu_beaut_a.jpg [ 98.08 KiB | Viewed 12287 times ]
File comment: a Kantu pua or shoulder cloth. 78" x 33". Commmercial theads and aniline dyes in borders. Natural dyes in main field. about 66 warp threads per inch and 23 wefts/inch. the warp threads are in pairs as is common in Borneo ikats. Piece is probab
kantu_pua_115__bold_vibrant_a.jpg
kantu_pua_115__bold_vibrant_a.jpg [ 100.48 KiB | Viewed 12287 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: ..oops...
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Hi Sandie,

Most of the extant Kantu pieces are early 20th century and later sore of post headhunting. Few old ones survived wars from the much more aggesssive Iban. So most Kantu pieces are commercial threads and aniline dyes with exceptions. The commercial threads of course are what allow such fine designs.

The "natural" and animal /bird motifs are much the same as the Ibans used but it is rare to find huminoid figures although I do have one pua I just got in Kuching which has three anthropomorphic figures - unusual. And I have never seen any with "headhunting" representations or references. No severed heads, headless corpses, body parts,etc. (It is my largely uniformed surmise that even though Ibanic, the Kantu did not make headhunting such a central part of their culture as did the Ibans which might account for the lack of such references in their pua.)

Because I note you are in Berkeley, do you know "Liz" of "Borneobooks"?

Just wondering?

-John

Quote:
"Sandra Shamis" Hello everyone,

Quelle fromage, as my niece says: I put my own telephone number in the information on the Borneo Project, so let me correct it now:

The Borneo Project 1771 Alcatraz Ave.
(510) 547-4258 Berkeley, CA 94705

I always welcome calls from Forum members in the vicinity, and everyone is cordially invited to drop in anytime to see our collection. HOWEVER...
back to the Kantu.

These textiles are amazing, and their visual appeal immediate. Is the second piece dyed with natural dyes? I'm aways interested in finding out what other groups do to get difficult colors (clear, unbright, unbrownish red, for example).

Also, do you know if the textiles echo designs on both basketry and/or shields, as they do amongst other Iban? Headhunting? Longhouse? Do keep us posted on your journey of discovery.

Sandie

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John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:50 pm
Posts: 101
Location: Cheam, UK
Thanks John for sharing these magnificent textiles with us!
and also for your reference to the book " Hornbill and Dragon: Kalimantan, Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei" by Bernard Sellato which was published by Elf Aquitaine, Malaysia in 1989.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough: - Its range is comprehensive, covering many aspects of the material culture of tribal groups from all parts of Borneo, including Textiles, basketwork, ornaments, houses and woodworking, which are shown in many fine examples and wonderful photographs. Modern photos of the people themselves are also included together with a handful of historic b/w images.
As John has pointed out above, there is a detailed map showing major groupings and the tribes within each one, many of which appear quite obscure, including the Kantu: - At a glance, however there appears to be no visual references to this group.
The book also includes a detailed text which outlines the tribal groupings, art and traditional life of these peoples.
All in all a must have for anyone interested in Borneo's tribes.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 10:14 pm 
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Posts: 74
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Thanks John for showing several very fine examples of Borneo textile art, especially the Kantu (sometimes spelled Kontu) pieces. Fantastic colors and patterns! My favorite type of textile from the Ibanic groups on either side of the Sarawak border.

Something for others to keep in mind when collecting Iban/Kantu textiles is to be very aware of any color problems. Overly faded, overly stained, or mis-colored examples are rarely valued by collectors of these textiles. John's examples are of the of the quality and color saturation that are most sought after by Dayak fanatics!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
I have just learned from Father Jacques Maessen in Sintang, Kalimantan that the Kantu' pua I showed is called: "merinjan motif. That is a tree with a big foliage. That motif symbols the ancestors who will protect you during your sleep."
The posted picture was called: kantu_pua_115__bold_vibrant_a.jpg.

I recently located Father Maessen and he is being kind enough to email correspond with me. He has been trying to preserve and promote the Dayak culture and weaving in Kalimantan for quite some time I gather. I will make arrangements to see him on my next trip to Borneo which is probably 2005. He also said that the women weavers will only talk to other women about the meanings in the pua and bidangs. Any of our women forum members up for a trip to Kalimantan before this knowledge is lost forever?

He also said that one "Kantu'" piece I showed him is actually Iban rather than Kantu' and I am trying to get an explanation. It's wonderful to be able to speak with experts!

-John

john wrote:
Always happy to share my enjoyment with textiles.

The Kantu are one of the several small Ibanic groups along the Kapuas river in West Kalimantan. They would be sort of south of Sarawak. Bernard Selato's book "Hornbills and Dragons" has several nice maps in the front and has the Kantu territory identified.

I'm posting a couple more Kantu pieces with better resolution so the detail shows more. It these are too large, please let me know.

John - I am afraid that I have had to edit your images as they were way too large, sorry! Pamela

Pamela wrote:
John

Thank you SO much for the photos posted! The designs are very strong and dynamic! I can see why you are so attracted to the Kantu ikat. At least we now have an idea of visually what we are looking for in any reference works.

Can you give us information on where in Borneo the Kantu are to be found?

I will have to have a root around in my boxes and baskets again and see what Iban textiles I can find. I will post anything I find onto the forum to share with everyone and hopefully encourage more participation as current members and the search engines pick things up in due course. What we need to do is to get some material posted to attract others. Takes a while but it has worked on some of our other topics. I am trying hard to build a community of textile enthusiasts here and really appreciate everyone's contributions.

Please can I ask anyone else who wants to share their collections of Iban/Kantu textiles to do so via this forum as part of this community building exercise - which hopefully will then reap rewards in the future for us all.

Thanks again!

_________________
John


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
I'm very glad to read of Father Jacques' helpful comments to John. Forum members might also like to know that the good folks at Threads of Life (http://www.threadsoflife.com), in Ubud, Bali have been working with him and have some of the pua from Sintang available at their venue. They are indeed quite fine. I mention this venue because it is their admirable goal to support and encourage the continuation of traditional weaving and dying techniques of the highest quality in several islands in Indonesia. Also, I hesitate to mention this, but if anyone would like to see some examples online, I have two pua from there on my website, with a percentage of the profits going back to Threads of Life.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 6:13 pm 
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Good links and information. Thanks Susan.

In looking at the Treads of Life geringsing I note they have a beautiful looking Wayang motif geringsing. Because it is a little difficult to make out the fine details, I am posting one because others may not have seen these. Not sure if this is the correct thread but it at least follows up Susan's post?

Double ikat weaving, with figures, sacred ritual shoulder cloth. Tenganan Pageringsing Village, Bali, Indonesia. Early 20th cent. Handspun cotton, natural dyes. Excellent condition. Ancient Hindu figures.

The detail is so fine that my 5 megapixel camera cannot capture it well at this scale so I am posting a detail shot.

And excellent book on these is: Patola und Geringsing, Alfred Buehler, Urs Ramseyer, Nicole Ramseyer-Gygi, museum fuer Voelkerkunde und Schweizerisches museum fuer Volkskunde, Basel, 1975/76

There are reputedly only three places in the world that double ikats are made- India (patola cloths), Bali and Japan. The skill and time it takes are incredible.

-John


susan stem wrote:
I'm very glad to read of Father Jacques' helpful comments to John. Forum members might also like to know that the good folks at Threads of Life (http://www.threadsoflife.com), in Ubud, Bali have been working with him and have some of the pua from Sintang available at their venue. They are indeed quite fine. I mention this venue because it is their admirable goal to support and encourage the continuation of traditional weaving and dying techniques of the highest quality in several islands in Indonesia. Also, I hesitate to mention this, but if anyone would like to see some examples online, I have two pua from there on my website, with a percentage of the profits going back to Threads of Life.


Attachments:
File comment: The three figures are nearly exactly as found on ancient relief temple carvings. Takes awhile to see them.
geringsing detail 1.jpg
geringsing detail 1.jpg [ 73.78 KiB | Viewed 12163 times ]
File comment: Wayang motif Geringsing double ikat weaving. Early 20th Century.

80" x 20"

geringing wayang.jpg
geringing wayang.jpg [ 118.09 KiB | Viewed 12163 times ]

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Last edited by john on Thu Sep 16, 2004 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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