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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 9:08 pm 
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I am posting an Iban pua and a bidang from my collection as promised to John. The bidang was the first Iban piece I purchased and was found in an unlikely place in the Putra Shopping Mall in KL in 1994. I subsequently bought one more from the same source the following year but, despite visiting every year since, no more gems appeared - only modern, fairly crude pieces for the tourist market. The two are very similar and not very fine but have a certain rough charm.

The pua is much more fine, although it has a hole towards the bottom on the right facing you. This piece gives me pleasure including the dancing figures at the bottom. This was purchased in one of the water-front bazars in Kuching.

(my appologies as to the quality of the photos - it is hard to get back far enough to photo in my hallway and there is not very much natural light - good for the textiles that 'live' there but not for photography!)

I would welcome any comments as to origin.

I will have a hunt for some other bidang, perhaps at the weekend.


Attachments:
File comment: Iban bidang
Iban_bidang01.jpg
Iban_bidang01.jpg [ 52.7 KiB | Viewed 28699 times ]
File comment: Iban pua
Iban_pua01.jpg
Iban_pua01.jpg [ 113.73 KiB | Viewed 28699 times ]
File comment: detail of Iban pua
Iban_pua02.jpg
Iban_pua02.jpg [ 56.51 KiB | Viewed 28699 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Wed Jun 02, 2004 8:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 4:35 pm 
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Pamela -

Quite interesting pieces. I have not seen that particular pattern in the bidang before. A strong design. It has some nice black areas which are eye catching. Not sure what Iban group might have made it.

The Pua is also quite nice. I've seen the pattern several times and I think I have at least one in my collection also. The deep burgundy red color on yours is also very good. The male and female figures and "siamese twins" in the bottom row are a nice way to keep the spirits from escaping the main body. And the triple ikat border is a nice addition. Judging from your comments about its finenes and the colored border stripes, it might be from the Saribas area which also produced the finest detail work. If it is all handspun and natural dyes it is a very good. Very collectible.

I've stopped worrying about small holes. All really old pieces that were kept around the longhouses for generations and used have them as far as I can tell. I naively passed up some good pieces which I first started collection because of the "holes". Big holes are another matter of course.

Anyone have more information on these?

-John

Very nice finds.


Pamela wrote:
I am posting an Iban pua and a bidang from my collection as promised to John. The bidang was the first Iban piece I purchased and was found in an unlikely place in the Putra Shopping Mall in KL in 1994. I subsequently bought one more from the same source the following year but, despite visiting every year since, no more gems appeared - only modern, fairly crude pieces for the tourist market. The two are very similar and not very fine but have a certain rough charm.

The pua is much more fine, although it has a hole towards the bottom on the right facing you. This piece gives me pleasure including the dancing figures at the bottom. This was purchased in one of the water-front bazars in Kuching.

(my appologies as to the quality of the photos - it is hard to get back far enough to photo in my hallway and there is not very much natural light - good for the textiles that 'live' there but not for photography!)

I would welcome any comments as to origin.

I will have a hunt for some other bidang, perhaps at the weekend.

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 Post subject: another bidang
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 2:18 pm 
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This bidang from my collection is very different from the first one that I posted. At first glance things seem quite straightforward. The coloured warp stripes along at both sides of the weft look like purchased yarn which has been chemically dyed. To the touch they have a 'silky' feel. I am not suggesting that they are silk but that is how they handle - or like some Indian cottons. I don't think it is synthetic. I supposed it could be a mercerised cotton. The warp ikat would seem to be machine spun thread with natural dyes in the ikat. The base colour of the warp threads before dyeing has quite a yellowish-buff colour. What I find interesting is that that where the weft threads have been joined they create 'lumps' as in hand spinning. At the selvedge edges there is very little sight of this thread - a buff/grey quite thin thread.

The bright colours with such a yellow overall hue are not ones which would normally make me warm to a particular textile. However, I was attracted by the very accurate and fine nature of the ikat tying with excellent registration of the design. Even though the fine thread allows accuracy it took a practised weaver/dyer to achieve such quality. I think that the areas of grey in the centre of some of the designs has not been dyed by tying the treads but by dye being 'painted' on the finished weaving. I have another, I think older bidang, which has some similarities in design where there is also use of a similar grey but where the dye has been applied during the tying process.

This bidang has been worn very little although it shows slight soiling in the warp stripes. Width of bidang 57 cm and with a 106 cm circumference.


Attachments:
File comment: bidang (1) 57cm wide with a 106 cm circumference
Borneo-(10).jpg
Borneo-(10).jpg [ 48.35 KiB | Viewed 28678 times ]
File comment: bidang (1) 57cm wide with a 106 cm circumference showing hand-sewn joining 'fell' seam.
Borneo-(16).jpg
Borneo-(16).jpg [ 53.64 KiB | Viewed 28678 times ]
File comment: Detail of bidang (1) 57cm wide with a 106 cm circumference. Note the grey dye which I believe has been applied after weaving.
Borneo-(13).jpg
Borneo-(13).jpg [ 54.55 KiB | Viewed 28678 times ]
File comment: Detail of bidang (1) 57cm wide with a 106 cm circumference
Borneo-(14).jpg
Borneo-(14).jpg [ 52.32 KiB | Viewed 28678 times ]

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 Post subject: ...and an Iban basket
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 2:35 pm 
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I have been exchanging emails with John about collecting and how I have found that many textile collectors also have an affinity with baskets. Baskets are, after all, created from fibre and 'woven'. In the cultures of many of the peoples whose textiles we admire baskets play an important role and are all part of their material culture.

I am going to post a photo of an Iban basket that I could not resist on a visit to Kuching. Most of my baskets are relatively small - this one is 17 cm high and 14 cm in diameter. The designs on the basket clearly echo those in the textiles above.

Unless any community member feels strongly against it I am happy to welcome some baskets on the forum where they relate in to the textiles shown. If we have a lot of interest in baskets I will start a new forum for them - much as we have for books or travel - but I cannot promise to support it in the same way that I try to do for the textiles.

A very good book to look out for in the context of Borneo is 'Iban Baskets' by Jean-Francois Blehaut and published by the Sarawak Literary Society. My basket has some similarites in constuction to figure 74 on page 68 'Patterned selok sowing basket'.


Attachments:
File comment: Iban basket 17 cm high and 14 cm in diameter. Possibly a [i]selok[/i] sowing basket
Borneo-(150).jpg
Borneo-(150).jpg [ 53.61 KiB | Viewed 28682 times ]
File comment: Detail of Iban basket 17 cm high and 14 cm in diameter. Possibly a [i]selok[/i] sowing basket
Borneo-(142).jpg
Borneo-(142).jpg [ 54.02 KiB | Viewed 28681 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 6:11 pm 
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Here's hoping that others are interested in baskets as well.

Pamela's Borneo basket is charming and of the type used as wedding gifts, a custom also followed by the American Indian Hopi people with their flat coiled "plaques" featuring strong bright colors.

I also strongly recommend "Iban Baskets" by Jean-Francois Blehaut. It combines beautiful photos of beautiful baskets with a valuable scholarly text. What more can you desire? Many types of these baskets, particularly large intricate ones, will probably never be made again unless for commercial sale at a price that would justify the incredible amount of labor, learning and skill required. The usual unlikely happening. However, some of the absolutely finest of the American Indian baskets that now sell in the $100,000's were made in the 1890 - 1920 period expressly for sale to tourists and to stores and thank goodness for that.

I am posting also a tall Iban basket I recently found at a dealer's house in Kuching. The patina is lovely. It is a bona fide "working basket" and the straps are at least second generation. Outstanding patina.

I am also posting a tiny basket made by aboriginal tribal people in Taiwan. It has a seperable lid. I found it at a very out of the way dealer's store house - cum - lot in Taiwan. He seems to sell mostly to museums. No English. I had an interpreter with me - an old and favorite former student. A treasure trove of old aboriginal Taiwan artifacts including huge stone and wood carvings.

And one more post while on the basket topic of another Iban basket with the upper triangular stitching commonly seen. Although not specifically mentioned in 'Iban Baskets', this ornamental looking stitching is an excellent example of "form following function". If the holes were all in a neat row, the wood would split along the line. Men make the baskets and I'm sure they learned this one from trial and error. If so inclined you can see the error repeated in wooden picket fencing in which all the pickets are nailed onto a wooden backer rail. For "looks" and ease, the nails are all in a line across and the backer rail splits in time along this line. Unfortunately the picket fence makers do not seem to learn. But I guarantee they would if they had to make good on this fault.

Does anyone else sense the charm and beauty of baskets with their close feeling to the maker?


-John


Pamela wrote:
I have been exchanging emails with John about collecting and how I have found that many textile collectors also have an affinity with baskets. Baskets are, after all, created from fibre and 'woven'. In the cultures of many of the peoples whose textiles we admire baskets play an important role and are all part of their material culture.

I am going to post a photo of an Iban basket that I could not resist on a visit to Kuching. Most of my baskets are relatively small - this one is 17 cm high and 14 cm in diameter. The designs on the basket clearly echo those in the textiles above.

Unless any community member feels strongly against it I am happy to welcome some baskets on the forum where they relate in to the textiles shown. If we have a lot of interest in baskets I will start a new forum for them - much as we have for books or travel - but I cannot promise to support it in the same way that I try to do for the textiles.

A very good book to look out for in the context of Borneo is 'Iban Baskets' by Jean-Francois Blehaut and published by the Sarawak Literary Society. My basket has some similarites in constuction to figure 74 on page 68 'Patterned selok sowing basket'.


Attachments:
File comment: a small Iban basket. Note the "tumpal" type triangular design of the upper stitching.
iban_small_basket_w.jpg
iban_small_basket_w.jpg [ 53.22 KiB | Viewed 28650 times ]
File comment: Small woven basket from the Aboriginal people of Taiwan.
small_aboriginal_basket_w.jpg
small_aboriginal_basket_w.jpg [ 51.54 KiB | Viewed 28650 times ]
File comment: Tall Iban field basket. The straps have been replaced at least once.
iban_back_w.jpg
iban_back_w.jpg [ 54.7 KiB | Viewed 28650 times ]
File comment: 33" high x 19" diameter opening.
iban_tall_reduced_w.jpg
iban_tall_reduced_w.jpg [ 55.52 KiB | Viewed 28650 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: another bidang
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:25 pm 
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Pamela - thanks for this bidang posting.

It was increasingly common post 1890 to find commercial threads and dyes especially in the borders. Such goods after all were prestige signs. You can tell as you indicated by the "feel" when you run the cloth between your fingers. Often however, the weaver reserved the commercial threads and dyes for the borders. You could feel the "roughness" of the handspun cotton of the field changing to the smooth, even slightly slippery feeling, as you hit the uniform commercial and most likely mercerized threads in the borders.

Later, the weavers used the commercial threads and dyes for the entire piece. I have attached a bidang which also has the yellow thread. And the highly localized blue or grey color is likely an example of what Mattiebelle Gittinger of the Textile Museum in Washington, DC refers to as "zone dyeing". It had been my opinion that the weaver most likely tied off the warp threads sufficiently above and below the color spot and then immersed just that local area in dye. I thought also at one time it might be brushed on as in some batik work but the depth of the color into and through the threads onto the reverse side suggests it was actually immersed. What would be the distinguishing signs of brushing rather than dyeing?

Your comment about feeling the "knots" in the warp thread is interesting. Wool of course can be twisted rather than knotted together minimizing the thread joins.

I was also always of the opinion that every bidang had an identical twin because of the way the threads are "warped up" on the loom and tyeing frame. I have posted an example of such a pair (I found two different such sets) of bidang. They are sewn for wearing but show hardly any wear.

And as an example of recent weaving, I am also posting pictures taken at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. The large pua on the wall is silk which is easier to dye than cotton. Unfortunately, silk is not as enduring or durable as cotton will deteriorate in time particularly in the strong sun.(Apologies for the out of focus shot of the pua on the wall. Not sure what happened.)

However, I find that even though some of the modern pua and bidang may be technically as expert as the best of the old ones, the "life" has gone out of any designs unless they are strict copies of an older one. I presume it is because the original ceremonial and in some cases headhunting purposes are no longer really in the collective consciousness of the weavers who by and large are college or at least high school educated, several generations away from the "old ways" and fast losing touch and in some cases sympathy with the "old" culture.

Any thoughts about this?

-John


Attachments:
File comment: A recent silk bidang woven and exhibited at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching.
silk_bidang_w.jpg
silk_bidang_w.jpg [ 54.7 KiB | Viewed 28643 times ]
File comment: a recent silk pua woven at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. Silk takes dye color more easily than cotton.
silk_pua.jpg
silk_pua.jpg [ 69.52 KiB | Viewed 28643 times ]
File comment: An old identical pair of Iban bidang sewn for wearing.
bidang_pair_w.jpg
bidang_pair_w.jpg [ 61.23 KiB | Viewed 28656 times ]
File comment: An old Iban Bidang. Commercial dyes and threads. Probably pre WWII.
22" x 40" opened.

iban_kain_kebat_29_w.jpg
iban_kain_kebat_29_w.jpg [ 82.43 KiB | Viewed 28656 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 8:25 pm 
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John

My thanks for your posts of splendid baskets and ikats. My apologies for editing the photos down. Can I please suggest that you crop the photos so that they are no wider than 600 pixels wide. This is both to keep the images small in file size and also to avoid distorting the viewing of the forum posts so that they can be seen on the computer screen without having to scroll across to read the text. Sorry to be so bossy.....

I love the patina on your tall Iban basket - yummy! The shape is also very attractive indeed. I will let your little Taiwan aboriginal basket stay in this Iban post because I know that Siriol will be interested to see it. I have a similar one which was new at purchase from Vietnam, a Tai (probably Southern White Tai according to Dr Michael Howard's definitions). The patina on mine is relatively non existent or, at least, only very slightly improved as I have loved to handle it in the 9 years since I bought from the lady who had created it in Ban Lac, Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh Province (see her modeling a headcloth she had woven but I bought the basket instead as thanks for her hospitality in having invited me into her home http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... TWVE13.htm ). 'Vietnam Museum of Ethnology', the catalogue of the Museum, has lots of very nice baskets shown throughout the catalogue as well as textiles - I am sure that you would be unable to resist it, John!

Thanks for your interesting comments following my bidang post. I appreciate them very much as I am sure will fellow forum members now and in the future. I had an interesting time on Sunday photographing my 'Borneo Collection' of 8 Iban ikat skirts, one embroidered one, one Kelambi, a beaded skirt and bolero jacket, a beaded centre to a hat, a Rungus woven skirt, 5 baskets/food cover - Oh, I forgot, as I did not photograph it then, a beaded/basket baby carrier (now photographed!) I will post some of these items in the future and, I guess, time permitting, create a web gallery of them.

So, this thread seems to be a hotchpotch of different items, tribal groups and countries! Not very disciplined but lots of fun and the joy of seeing beautiful items be they textile or basket as well as learning which is what the whole thing is about.

Thanks, John, for pushing the boundaries....


Attachments:
File comment: Small basket purchased from the maker in Ban Lac, Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh (Ha So'n Binh) Province, northern Vietnam in 1995 8 cm high and 11 cm diameter at its fattest part.
Vietnamese-basket.jpg
Vietnamese-basket.jpg [ 54.47 KiB | Viewed 28648 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:55 pm 
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Pamela-
Please feel free to edit photos as needed. I'll learn as quickly as I can to keep them to the appropriate size.

Thanks very much for the picture of your little Vietnamese basket. It is so similar in construction to mine and because you know for certain its origin, I am tempted to believe that mine came from Vietnam to Taiwan somehow. I only had the word of the dealer that it was Taiwanese aboriginal. Of course that coiled form is found all around the world being one of the basic basket weaving structures and the materials can be found throughout SEA so perhaps mine is Taiwanese after all. I know very little about the Taiwanese aboriginal people although another of my old Taiwanese students has visited all of the present tribes. I'll try to find out more about this piece through him when I go to Taiwan next.

On the topic of baskets it is interesting to me that the American Indians excelled in producing baskets and pottery with wonderful graphic designs for some reason. I am posting two such. Perhaps we need a forum just for baskets as a "textile" form. In fact, one basket I have is so fine it almost seems like a textile. I'll post that as well.

Your comment on "handling" your little basket is also interesting because to me baskets and pots yearn to be handled. They delight the eye by running it over their forms and that invites the hand. Baskets also have a "hand" much like textiles. One of the baskets I am posting is from the Pomo tribe in California and is covered with feathers and shell "dangles", a number of which are missing now. Stroking that basket is like petting it.

And I am hoping to see the rest of your Borneo pieces!

Actually, I like the "hodge-podge" approach because I am a great believer in or at least user of serendipity. Unlikely connections are what often push new thoughts and discoveries. My complaint with many museums is that they now exhibit their artifacts too much as isolated "art" pieces with the babyspot and reverential silence. I always feel like I should genuflect as I approach them. You get only the predigested thoughts of the curator. Pace my curator friends but it must be said. Many of the old museums which simply put a lot of stuff out to see were more interesting to me.

And I think this "thread' is just what you expect in weaving - it goes in different directions, winding its way through the whole. It is hard to understand the whole simply by examing its isolated parts.

Perhaps it is the modern mode that we are more analytical than synthetical. I found over many years that teaching analysis techniques was very much easier than (trying to) teach synthesis techniques. But then it always seems easier to critique than create.

I am enjoying this forum very much and hope others can add to it as well.

Thanks again for all your work on this site.

-John

Pamela wrote:
John

My thanks for your posts of splendid baskets and ikats. My apologies for editing the photos down. Can I please suggest that you crop the photos so that they are no wider than 600 pixels wide. This is both to keep the images small in file size and also to avoid distorting the viewing of the forum posts so that they can be seen on the computer screen without having to scroll across to read the text. Sorry to be so bossy.....

I love the patina on your tall Iban basket - yummy! The shape is also very attractive indeed. I will let your little Taiwan aboriginal basket stay in this Iban post because I know that Siriol will be interested to see it. I have a similar one which was new at purchase from Vietnam, a Tai (probably Southern White Tai according to Dr Michael Howard's definitions). The patina on mine is relatively non existent or, at least, only very slightly improved as I have loved to handle it in the 9 years since I bought from the lady who had created it in Ban Lac, Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh Province (see her modeling a headcloth she had woven but I bought the basket instead as thanks for her hospitality in having invited me into her home http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... TWVE13.htm ). 'Vietnam Museum of Ethnology', the catalogue of the Museum, has lots of very nice baskets shown throughout the catalogue as well as textiles - I am sure that you would be unable to resist it, John!

Thanks for your interesting comments following my bidang post. I appreciate them very much as I am sure will fellow forum members now and in the future. I had an interesting time on Sunday photographing my 'Borneo Collection' of 8 Iban ikat skirts, one embroidered one, one Kelambi, a beaded skirt and bolero jacket, a beaded centre to a hat, a Rungus woven skirt, 5 baskets/food cover - Oh, I forgot, as I did not photograph it then, a beaded/basket baby carrier (now photographed!) I will post some of these items in the future and, I guess, time permitting, create a web gallery of them.

So, this thread seems to be a hotchpotch of different items, tribal groups and countries! Not very disciplined but lots of fun and the joy of seeing beautiful items be they textile or basket as well as learning which is what the whole thing is about.

Thanks, John, for pushing the boundaries....


Attachments:
File comment: a very fine and closely twined basket made of "grasses' by the Aleut people of Alaska. So soft and fine it feels like textile. 5" high.
aleute.jpg
aleute.jpg [ 60.3 KiB | Viewed 28626 times ]
File comment: A large feast bowl basket from the Maidu tribe also of California. Made late 1800's. Kept by previous collectors in pristine shape. 12" high x 25" Diameter at top.
bigmaidu_.jpg
bigmaidu_.jpg [ 49.25 KiB | Viewed 28626 times ]
File comment: Pomo basket covered with feathers and abalone shell dangles. Early 1900's. 2" high x 7" widest. Oval shape.
pomo_with_triangles_.jpg
pomo_with_triangles_.jpg [ 47.91 KiB | Viewed 28626 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:15 pm 
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John,

re photos sizes please restrain photo width to 600 pix maximum so that this does not distort the forum layout and ease of reading. I have edited down two of your baskets where the width was 800 and 700+

Well, quite stunning baskets and what a range! You will see that I have changed (again) the title of this thread!

I would think that your little basket is from Taiwan since really it is a very basic design really growing out of the medium. There are probably examples all over the world - certainly Asia. You might be interested in a book which Siriol Richards has been recommending for some time - see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ght=taiwan and also http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ght=taiwan for this and other Taiwan information on the forum.
By the way, I can recommend the Search feature on the forum - see links in top right of screen - to find items posted that you can't remember exactly where.

Your Pomo basket looks as if it should lay eggs - or at least keep them warm! Really over the top.

My basket contribution tonight is not quite a basket but a foodcover which I bought in Sabah - so part of my Borneo collection. The work is incredibly fine. It is 6 cm high and 11 cm in diameter. I bought it from one of the shops in the hotel as an ordinary tourist item about 6 years ago. The next year when I wanted to buy more there was no sign of anything so fine being made. It has an inner lining of a coarser basket weave.

This is getting to be a disease!


Attachments:
File comment: a foodcover bought in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia - so part of my Borneo collection. The work is incredibly fine. It is 6 cm high and 11 cm in diameter. Seen from the top.
Borneo-(168)_.jpg
Borneo-(168)_.jpg [ 59.94 KiB | Viewed 28631 times ]
File comment: a foodcover bought in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia - so part of my Borneo collection. The work is incredibly fine. It is 6 cm high and 11 cm in diameter. Seen from the side.
Borneo-(171)_.jpg
Borneo-(171)_.jpg [ 42.42 KiB | Viewed 28631 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 6:01 pm 
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Pamela - sorry again to cause you unnecessary work. I am posting several more pictures for information and as a test to see that I have done it correctly.

I like your food cover. I saw several other beautiful beaded ones in a Singapore museum two years ago. They were quite large and of screenwork design to keep bugs out but air circulating I suppose. I think the exhibit was devoted to the artifacts of the Peranakan - those Chinese who came to the Straights area around West Malaysia generations ago, married indonesian or Malaysian and developed their own highly ornamented and wealthy culture. The "babas" and "nyonas". Speaking of which, the Peranakan ladies used to make fantastic beadwork pieces - usually their slippers and such but there was on display a large flat piece you would have to see to believe. They used beads of such small size that they no longer make needles fine ehough to pass through the holes of the beads. Canyou imagine the eyestrain, dexterity and patience required? I have been trying to obtain (collector disease) some of this work but can't seem to find anything about it. Does anyone know of a book or article on it? I hunted around Singapore for antique shops that might carry it but did not find anything very good. A real art form which has also vanished.

I am posting a sungkit style Iban bidang. Handspun and commercial threads and dyes. It incorporates silver metallic threads. Probably Malay influence there with the silver metallic ornamentation.

The Iban also made pua in sungkit technique. I had posted one of those earlier. The sungkits are much rarer than the ikat pua and also older. And to me, they are more "powerful". There was a revival of sungkit weaving in the 50's or so but it seems to have vanished. It is even more time consuming than ikat work.

I am also posting a loin cloth done in "pilih" style which has floating weft threads on the reverse. The Iban called a loin cloth - a "sirat" and the Malays call it "chawat" so you come across both words. The men used them until the cloth wore out and then the women cut of the ornamental ends and resewed them to newly spun cloth. I had this one cleaned but you can tell it obviously was worn!.

I just saw a pua in pilih style on Ebay. I probably should have got it as an example. I haven't seen any other pilih pua.

I looked again at my "little" basket and will accept your opinion that it really is Taiwanese. It seems to have been coated with a black pitch or something (somewhat like the Aerican Navajos did to make some of their baskets water tight as canteens) but am not sure why in this case. The "high spots" are where the pitch has been worn through probably from handling over a very long time. Seems either very old or had a great deal of use. No sign or smell of what might have once held.

And thanks for the book lead. I followed it up and posted a couple I have that might be interesting to someone.

I haven't exploited all the resources of this excellent forum site yet but will start doing so.

I'll keep posting different textile things from Borneo such as jackets, sitting mats and such if it is of interest to the members. Or perhaps I'll keep posting until someone says "when"?

Thanks again.
John


Pamela wrote:
John,

re photos sizes please restrain photo width to 600 pix maximum so that this does not distort the forum layout and ease of reading. I have edited down two of your baskets where the width was 800 and 700+

Well, quite stunning baskets and what a range! You will see that I have changed (again) the title of this thread!

I would think that your little basket is from Taiwan since really it is a very basic design really growing out of the medium. There are probably examples all over the world - certainly Asia. You might be interested in a book which Siriol Richards has been recommending for some time - see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ght=taiwan and also http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ght=taiwan for this and other Taiwan information on the forum.
By the way, I can recommend the Search feature on the forum - see links in top right of screen - to find items posted that you can't remember exactly where.

Your Pomo basket looks as if it should lay eggs - or at least keep them warm! Really over the top.

My basket contribution tonight is not quite a basket but a foodcover which I bought in Sabah - so part of my Borneo collection. The work is incredibly fine. It is 6 cm high and 11 cm in diameter. I bought it from one of the shops in the hotel as an ordinary tourist item about 6 years ago. The next year when I wanted to buy more there was no sign of anything so fine being made. It has an inner lining of a coarser basket weave.

This is getting to be a disease!


Attachments:
File comment: A loin cloth ("Sirat" in Iban and "chawat" in Malay) with ends done in pilih style. 130" x 11.25".
loin cloth.jpg
loin cloth.jpg [ 60.25 KiB | Viewed 28618 times ]
File comment: An Iban bidang in sungkit technique. Handspun and commercial threads. Silver metallic threads for accents.

41" x 21". Probebly early to mid 20th century.

sungkit bidang.jpg
sungkit bidang.jpg [ 180.41 KiB | Viewed 28616 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 8:34 pm 
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John, I am very interested to see your basket from Taiwan as well as the other fine examples from different cultures you have posted to the forum. I am also very much interested, as you are, in unexpected connections between cultures and find the juxtapostion of items from different parts of the world can often be very thought provoking. The study of cross cultural diffusion which is an outcome of this approach appears, in my experience, to be treated with a certain amount of caution in academic circles, these days, except in the more obvious cases.
Back to Taiwan, I am glad you have seen the book title I posted earlier, on Aboriginal peoples in Taiwan. (Thanks Pamela!).
I have had a quick look though another publication I have in my collection on one of these tribes, entitled: -
"Segawa's Illustrated Ethnography of Indigenous Formosan People: - The Tsou". This book is a visual account, in hundreds of b/w photos, of the traditional life of the Tsou tribe in Taiwan's central mountains. Among other things, there are very many baskets illustrated in a variety of contexts including both tightly woven types and examples with open weave. There are fish traps, winowing baskets, tapered baskets supported from a band on the forehead, examples supported on four legs and also tight woven basketry dishes for serving food. Other tribes in Taiwan may manufacture similar types to these and maybe other kinds not documented in this book. This is certainly an area for study, and something I know little about, since there are not many books documenting these cultures anyway.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:23 pm 
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John

I have visited the Peranakan exhibition in Singapore which you mention and yes, I found the beadwork fascinating. I have quite a good book with some information on the Peranakan 'The Straits Chinese: A Cultural History' by Khoo Joo Ee published by the Peppin Press (Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur fax: 31 20 4201152. I bought my copy in KL having originally seen it in Singapore (where it was much more expensive). It is a general book on the culture so has some textiles, some pottery, some furniture, quite a lot of old photos. I am pretty sure that I bought a small book on the beadwork during a visit to the Kuching Museum bookshop a few years ago. It is currently 'hiding' somewhere on my bookshelves. If it comes to light I will let you know.

Both your textiles are very interesting especially the loin cloth. Traditional textiles worn by men disappear so much earlier than women's clothing and also items such as loin cloths tend not to be revived for cultural shows. The two different ends are interesting.

The sungkit technique is interesting. Yes, striking designs. Personally I have more empathy with the softer colours of the ikat although I appreciate the 'stand up and stare' quality of the sungkit.

Re the books - thanks. If you get a chance to look at the rash of China textile posts (especially Dong) before they were upstaged by the Iban we were quoting quite a bit from this volume. Gets to look like an exchange of code with page numbers and figure numbers!

We would love to see some more Borneo textiles. It would be a good idea to start a new thread or two - perhaps split out the jackets from the mats. Generally, although I know you like the woven together nature of all sorts of items, I would suggest that it is more helpful if there is some sense to types of items or origins on one thread rather than a muddle together. I know that I and others can find it frustrating trying to find the right thread where we have seen something before and some coherence can help. Of course, there is always the search facility.

So, keep going with the photo posting (especially as you give helpful information to accompany the photos which is great for refrence and learning) but a little order please!! Congratulations on having got the size of the photos sorted out!

all the best

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:32 pm 
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Thanks for the new information Sirol. Much appreciated. I'll track down a copy of the book you mentioned.

I suppose someone with a lot of time on his hands could start assembling and categorizing an annotated bibliograpy of the books in different areas. There is an interesting one on the web for textiles which I'll try to refind and post the URL. It was fairly extensive as I recall. The one on this forum is a good start.

Thanks again and I'll be interested in your other postings.

-John

siriol richards wrote:
John, I am very interested to see your basket from Taiwan as well as the other fine examples from different cultures you have posted to the forum. I am also very much interested, as you are, in unexpected connections between cultures and find the juxtapostion of items from different parts of the world can often be very thought provoking. The study of cross cultural diffusion which is an outcome of this approach appears, in my experience, to be treated with a certain amount of caution in academic circles, these days, except in the more obvious cases.
Back to Taiwan, I am glad you have seen the book title I posted earlier, on Aboriginal peoples in Taiwan. (Thanks Pamela!).
I have had a quick look though another publication I have in my collection on one of these tribes, entitled: -
"Segawa's Illustrated Ethnography of Indigenous Formosan People: - The Tsou". This book is a visual account, in hundreds of b/w photos, of the traditional life of the Tsou tribe in Taiwan's central mountains. Among other things, there are very many baskets illustrated in a variety of contexts including both tightly woven types and examples with open weave. There are fish traps, winowing baskets, tapered baskets supported from a band on the forehead, examples supported on four legs and also tight woven basketry dishes for serving food. Other tribes in Taiwan may manufacture similar types to these and maybe other kinds not documented in this book. This is certainly an area for study, and something I know little about, since there are not many books documenting these cultures anyway.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:17 pm 
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Pamela,

I forgot to give you some information on the pua. That and the bidang are quite nice as I mentoned.

The pua is the "sepapat" or "firefly" pattern. So called because the branches of the trees (that's what those are) are outlined in white as though the fireflies of Borneo were lighting them up. Incidentally, the phenomenon of all these separate bugs flashing together in rhythm is an interesting self-organizing study. The great 20th century (now deceased) mathematician Norbert Wiener (he coined the term "cybernetics" and is the modern father of feedback control mathematics) mentioned that pulsation of separated elements as a special mathematical problem. I did a small paper on it many years ago.

The motifs at the top could be paddle handles.

The fine work and the colored stripes along the sides suggest this was made in the Saribas area. The Saribas Iban weavers were always known for fine work and the self colored side stripes.

The two big divisions of Iban ikat pua are from the Saribas area and the Baleh areas. Some from the Ulu Ai (Ulu means up river or head of the river and Ai is the river name) The pua from the Baleh area tend to be considerably larger particularly in width and somewhat coarser and almost always handspun and natural dyes. Saribas weavers later incorporated commerical threads and dyes but usually confined to the side borders There are pattern differences also of course but still many motifs in common.

There are other localized areas as well such as Kapit where nice work was made.

Kind of like baskets of the American Indians. Basket from the Southwest are easily distinguishable from the Northwest or Plains. And within the Southwest, there are very many different tribes making their own styles and designs. It becomes a challenge sometimes to distinguish between geographically close tribes where the same materials and techniques are used. Sometimes it is just a matter of which way the stitches in a basket are oriented.

You are of course familiar with the arguments between the "splitters" and the "lumpers" as to how finely to divide peoples by their distinguishing features. Which again is somewhat like those intested mainly in analysis as opposed to those interested mainly in synthesis.

The "sepapat" pattern was a common and important one. Which is why it was copied so often. There is a picture of another one in the 1982 reprint of Haddon and Start's book: Iban or Sea Dayak Fabrics and their Patterns. This is the ur text for Iban fabrics even though new knowledge (not that much actually) has been found. It is definitely required reading for those interested in Iban weavings.

I know practically nothing about the other weavings mentioned in this forum, particularly Chinese but like to learn. I am enjoying the forum for that reason.

What make the bidang specially nice is the use of the black shadowings and fillings. I have not seen that particular pattern before and it is a little unusual.

-John


Pamela wrote:
I am posting an Iban pua and a bidang from my collection as promised to John. The bidang was the first Iban piece I purchased and was found in an unlikely place in the Putra Shopping Mall in KL in 1994. I subsequently bought one more from the same source the following year but, despite visiting every year since, no more gems appeared - only modern, fairly crude pieces for the tourist market. The two are very similar and not very fine but have a certain rough charm.

The pua is much more fine, although it has a hole towards the bottom on the right facing you. This piece gives me pleasure including the dancing figures at the bottom. This was purchased in one of the water-front bazars in Kuching.

(my appologies as to the quality of the photos - it is hard to get back far enough to photo in my hallway and there is not very much natural light - good for the textiles that 'live' there but not for photography!)

I would welcome any comments as to origin.

I will have a hunt for some other bidang, perhaps at the weekend.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:59 pm 
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John

Thank you so much for the helpful comments on my textiles - I really appreciate it. I am going to post a photo of the second bidang that I bought from the same source as the one above. It is quite coarse in texture and weave and the intensity of the dyes is very much as shown in the photo. Especially the top 'dark' border is as shown with some thread blackish in shade and the balance a brownish mottled hue. I have always associated the two pieces as being from a similar source but, of course, this may not be true at all.

best wishes and thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.


Attachments:
File comment: bidang
Borneo-(24)w.jpg
Borneo-(24)w.jpg [ 59.66 KiB | Viewed 28569 times ]
File comment: detail of bidang
Borneo-(29)w.jpg
Borneo-(29)w.jpg [ 50.29 KiB | Viewed 28567 times ]

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