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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 2:04 pm 
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Since we have some interest in beadwork I am posting here a Taman beaded skirt and blouse from Borneo. I bought them in 1999 in Kuching, Sarawak. On page 219 of 'World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques' by John Gillow and Brian Sentence, published by Thames & Hudson there is a photo of two women with one wearing a very similar outfit to the photos below:
Quote:
worn by Taman women from Putussibau, Upper Kapaus River, Kalimantan, Indonesia
.

These items are pretty heavy with the beadwork weighing them down. The blouse, at the back, has possibly had an encounter with insects which have eaten the threads and an area of beadwork has been lost.


Attachments:
File comment: Taman beaded woman's bouse and skirt (back view) possibly from Putussibau, Upper Kapaus River, Kalimantan
Borneo-(124)a.jpg
Borneo-(124)a.jpg [ 59.24 KiB | Viewed 11537 times ]
File comment: Front of Taman beaded woman's blouse possibly from Putussibau, Upper Kapaus River, Kalimantan
Borneo-(112)a.jpg
Borneo-(112)a.jpg [ 57.39 KiB | Viewed 11537 times ]
File comment: Taman beaded woman's skirt possibly from Putussibau, Upper Kapaus River, Kalimantan
Borneo-(95)a.jpg
Borneo-(95)a.jpg [ 57.84 KiB | Viewed 11537 times ]
File comment: Detail of beaded strip on Taman skirt
Borneo-(104)t.jpg
Borneo-(104)t.jpg [ 31.01 KiB | Viewed 11537 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 5:40 pm 
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I find, from the little that I have seen, that beadwork from the island of Borneo is both bold and vibrant. I like the idea of beaded centres for sunhats, for example.
The book "Hornbill and Dragon" focusing on the material culture of Borneo's tribes, will (hopefuly) be on my website on the Southeast Asia page sometime soon, with full details. This is, in my opinion, one of the best publications so far on the tribal peoples of Borneo and covers the entire island.
"The Traditional Costume of Sabah" is also worth a look. ( sorry I don't have the full details to hand at the moment, since I am away from my library, but it too should soon be on my website: - see Asia and Eastern European book list, in books section on this forum for website address). The book has photos and drawings showing the costumes worn by seven of Sabah's tribes, including the Dusun and Maloh (Sabah is located at the northernmost tip of Borneo). Beads feature prominantly in many of these costumes, either as part of textiles or as necklaces, belts and other accessories, which among some of these peoples is quite profuse.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:11 pm 
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Pamela -

A very pretty set. Has the jacket been relined? I like the heavy feel of beadwork. Something very satisfying about that. I might not like to wear it for a long time in a hot, humid climate however. Ginger Rogers, who was Fred Astair's famous and beautiful dancing partner in movies, said that some of the elaborate and heavily decorated dresses she worn weighted a ton and she had to dance effortlessly and look floating in them.

I am posting a beadwork, bells and shells bidang that Mark Johnson said was "Maloh". I'll take his word for it. It also has that comforting heavy feel, plus it rings and dings which you pick it up. Must have been wonderful when the wearer moved about in it. I have several skirts with old bells on the bottom so apparently they were not that rare. I can just imagine the sounds of a number of women wearing them at once. Perhaps they also danced to the music of the gongs and sape? Does anyone know about such things? One thing I find frustrating in reading old books on Borneo is that they allude to such matters but never clarify them. And of course any description of fabrics, etc., is either missing or too cursory.

Looking forward to more postings.

-John



Pamela wrote:
Since we have some interest in beadwork I am posting here a Taman beaded skirt and blouse from Borneo. I bought them in 1999 in Kuching, Sarawak. On page 219 of 'World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques' by John Gillow and Brian Sentence, published by Thames & Hudson there is a photo of two women with one wearing a very similar outfit to the photos below:
Quote:
worn by Taman women from Putussibau, Upper Kapaus River, Kalimantan, Indonesia
.

These items are pretty heavy with the beadwork weighing them down. The blouse, at the back, has possibly had an encounter with insects which have eaten the threads and an area of beadwork has been lost.


Attachments:
File comment: A Maloh bidang with old bells, beads and buri shells. The beading is probably Kenyah or Kayan?
maloh beaded and bells bidang.jpg
maloh beaded and bells bidang.jpg [ 182.47 KiB | Viewed 11505 times ]

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 Post subject: Dongson strikes again!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:20 pm 
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The examples of beadwork just posted are extremely beautiful. What is interesting about these textiles is their similarity to many motifs found in mainland SEAsia, both among the T'ai and other, unrelated groups.

How fascinating that these geometric designs should find expression in beadworking.

Sandie


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:22 pm 
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Well, as John has mentioned bells I am posting a couple of photos of a woven Rungus skirt from Sabah with bells on the bottom. I bought it at a Sunday market in Kota Kinabalu and so regret that I did not buy the little woven bustier ('tight bodice fastened with a button to a rectangular shoulder cloth (longon banat) with a slit in the middle for the head and loose ends hanging over the shoulders' - see reference below) that went with it. I don't think I had enough money on me at the time. I think I saw the hunter who had brought the two pieces in and given them to the stall holder to sell. He was lurking in the background waiting to see what happened to them. On the bottom are some bells. In 'An Introducation to the Traditional Costumes of Sabah' edited by Rita Lasimbang and Stella Moo-Tan, page 89 it refers to the tapi Tube-skirt falling below the knees [Priestesses wear a tapi with heavy brass bells at the hem to accompany the chants] The floating weft motifs in the horizontal bands comprise an astonishing range of subjects. There is a fern motif, vegetable seeds, a drunken woman and a pattern derived from the body of a black bird. Worn during festival or ceremonies.' I think that the bells on this tapi are not brass - they are not a yellow metal but white

This is a piece that I would like Susan Stem to have a look at as I was surprised to see how much it reminded me of Li weaving when I got it out last weekend to photograph. Of course, at the time I bought it, I didn't know anything about Li (or Rungus come to that) - I was just attracted by the weaving. There are even a few threads of ikat amongst those on the dark ground. I believe it is all natural dyes and handspun cotton thread.


Attachments:
File comment: Rungus woven cotton skirt 74 cm in width and 116 cm in circumference, Sabah, East Malaysia
Borneo-(125).jpg
Borneo-(125).jpg [ 53.8 KiB | Viewed 11493 times ]
File comment: Detail of Rungus woven cotton skirt 74 cm in width and 116 cm in circumference, Sabah, East Malaysia
Borneo-(129).jpg
Borneo-(129).jpg [ 57.44 KiB | Viewed 11493 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:08 pm 
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Hi Sandie,

Could you post an example or two of the textiles you have in mind? I know so little about them. And why do you think the similarity exists?

-John

Sandra Shamis wrote:
The examples of beadwork just posted are extremely beautiful. What is interesting about these textiles is their similarity to many motifs found in mainland SEAsia, both among the T'ai and other, unrelated groups.

How fascinating that these geometric designs should find expression in beadworking.

Sandie

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2004 6:26 pm 
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What a great skirt! More new education for me. Do you know the age?

I'll try to get a copy of the Sabah costume book you mentioned for my library. I think I can see the motifs you mentioned except for the "drunken woman"? Any chance you can show the skirt with some computer added identifying labels?

And do you know what the locals in Sabah call a skirt? As you know, the term "kain kebat" from Traude Gavin's book is being pushed as a replacement for "bidang" although the Encyclopaedia of Iban studies defines "kain kebat" as an ikated cloth and still uses the term "bidang" for the skirt. I wondered how skirts were termed in Sabah even though it is not Iban."

And I also learned in the same source that the Taman (Pamela's beaded jacket and skirt) were considered as part of the Maloh people by the Iban but the Taman preferred not to be so included and prefer their Taman descriptor.

I am steadily working my way thorough this 4 volume set (one is a volume of references, etc.) with some interesting findings. For example, I found an old black and white picture of 4 Kalimantan Iban girls wearing ikated skirts which were matching pairs and appeared to have some of the Kantu identifiers but the lack of color is some hindrance. I had always assumed that each skirt would have its sister because of the warping up technique producing the upper and lower warps which when tied together naturally produces two identically patterned sets ready for wefting (is there such a word?). The photo identifies the time as 1928 and the Kalimantan Iban of the Upper Kapuas region -Batang Lupar. I have two matching sets but I don't think they go back that far. Obviously the pictured skirts wouldl predate 1928 a little bit at least. I'll see if there is a copyright restriction on the photo and if not will post the picture. It clearly shows how the skirts were worn - front and back views. I found it quite illuminating.

And because we are now into Sabah, I am posting a picture of an old apron from the Kayan. The applique work is typical Iban with their love of the bi and quasi quadsymmetric patterns. The material must all be trade cloth. The black is a (worn) velvet which must have been very special for them. I like the figure ground patterns. And as Sellato points out, the cirlces are eyes of the aso of the hornbill with its casque going back over its head. A recent version was just offered on Ebay. Its backing cloth was a grain feed bag if I recall correctly.

There is a good reference book on iban patterns that I'll post when I recall the exact citation. It is not in my catalogue yet. Have to get busy and update it.

-John
Pamela wrote:
Well, as John has mentioned bells I am posting a couple of photos of a woven Rungus skirt from Sabah with bells on the bottom. I bought it at a Sunday market in Kota Kinabalu and so regret that I did not buy the little woven bustier ('tight bodice fastened with a button to a rectangular shoulder cloth (longon banat) with a slit in the middle for the head and loose ends hanging over the shoulders' - see reference below) that went with it. I don't think I had enough money on me at the time. I think I saw the hunter who had brought the two pieces in and given them to the stall holder to sell. He was lurking in the background waiting to see what happened to them. On the bottom are some bells. In 'An Introducation to the Traditional Costumes of Sabah' edited by Rita Lasimbang and Stella Moo-Tan, page 89 it refers to the tapi Tube-skirt falling below the knees [Priestesses wear a tapi with heavy brass bells at the hem to accompany the chants] The floating weft motifs in the horizontal bands comprise an astonishing range of subjects. There is a fern motif, vegetable seeds, a drunken woman and a pattern derived from the body of a black bird. Worn during festival or ceremonies.' I think that the bells on this tapi are not brass - they are not a yellow metal but white

This is a piece that I would like Susan Stem to have a look at as I was surprised to see how much it reminded me of Li weaving when I got it out last weekend to photograph. Of course, at the time I bought it, I didn't know anything about Li (or Rungus come to that) - I was just attracted by the weaving. There are even a few threads of ikat amongst those on the dark ground. I believe it is all natural dyes and handspun cotton thread.


Attachments:
File comment: Ceremonial apron. Kayan people, Kalimantan, Borneo. Early 20th. Cotton, trade cloth, aniline dyes, applique. Excellent condition. Features multiple intertwined dragon motifs.

32" x 26.5"

kayan apron.jpg
kayan apron.jpg [ 76.35 KiB | Viewed 11472 times ]

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 Post subject: Rungus 'tapi'
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:20 pm 
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John.

The Rungus tube skirt is called a tapi. See my text which is quoted from the Sabah costume book. The motifs are ones they talk about in typical tapis and not necessarily in mine.
Quote:
In 'An Introducation to the Traditional Costumes of Sabah' edited by Rita Lasimbang and Stella Moo-Tan, page 89 it refers to the tapi Tube-skirt falling below the knees [Priestesses wear a tapi with heavy brass bells at the hem to accompany the chants] The floating weft motifs in the horizontal bands comprise an astonishing range of subjects. There is a fern motif, vegetable seeds, a drunken woman and a pattern derived from the body of a black bird. Worn during festival or ceremonies.'

I don't know the age of my tapis and would loosely say '2nd half of 20th century' but I have nothing to gauge it by. There are photos in the Sabah book (and on postcards) of similar tapis but I have not seen any others with a known date to see, handle and compare. It appears to have absolutely no modern threads and is hand stitched together. If 'an expert' or the owner had said that the tapi was early 20th century the 'feel' and look of the tapi would not disagree with this attestation. However, failing that, I am cautious!

Just as background the Sabah costume book (page 75) says of the Rungus:
Quote:
'The Rungus is a sub-group of the Dusun/Kadazan group found mainly on the Kudat and Bengkoka peninsula in the northern part of Sabah. According to the 1981 census, the Rungus number about 40,000.

They are sedentary farmers as well as shifting cultivators. Their staple food is rice and maize. They are skilled in producing homespun cloth made from cotton - kapok, for their costumes. They also produce handicrafts made from a variety of materials, bead necklaces and other accessories.'

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Last edited by Pamela on Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Taman or Maloh
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 9:21 pm 
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The specific identification of beaded skirts and jackets coming from the Taman and Maloh area is a bit difficult. From the information I have found there are three related groups in the same general area of upper central Borneo, near the Sarawak border. The names given are Taman, Maloh, and Embaloh (a smaller sub-group). They have a shared history and ancestory, but have sub-divided into these three sub-groups some time ago (I believe in the 19th century).

Generally, the style associated with the Taman are the beaded pieces with medium to small glass beads using the patterns found on the set shown by Pamela at the top of this page. The style most often associated with the Maloh would be the example shown by John with large, medium, or small glass beads and the other skirts and jackets with larger glass beads and motifs of human figures and dragons. I am unsure of what the Embaloh patterns are.

I am trying to find more specific information on this area, but for now most dealers and collectors use either Taman for the one type and generally Maloh for the rest of the pieces. If anyone has any more information, I would love to hear it.

Regards,
Mark

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 Post subject: Rungus Amungus
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:18 am 
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Having not been to Borneo, I cannot shed any light on these pieces, but do welcome the opportunity to see them and learn from others. The skirt from Rungus definitely speaks to me, Pamela. Regarding a comparison to Li tubeskirts, it is similar in 'feel', but not in details: it appears that this one is made of two panels sewn together, unlike the Li which can be 4, 5 (like example shown) or even 6 panels; and the Li pieces utilize bands of ikat as well as supplementary warp, and supplementary weft.

I know this is a stretch, but I wonder if design-wise, there is any direct correlation to some of the skirts from the Philippines, which tho made with resist dye techniques rather than floating warps or wefts, and are of different colors, are usually of two panels, sometimes three, and have a similar 'rhythm' to the patterning, as well as similar motifs. I can certainly understand why you were attracted to it.

I did just find a reference to the Rungus in Sylvia Fraser-Lu's book Handwoven Textiles of South-East Asia, p. 149:
Quote:
"The most traditional weaving in Sabah today is done by the Rungus, ... The Rungus women weave with a body-tension loom. They are the only group in Sabah who still spin their thread from wild cotton and produce their dyes from local plants."


Attached is an older Li skirt for comparison.


Attachments:
File comment: Detail- Li tubeskirt
Mail-TACH161_Detail-ikat.jpg
Mail-TACH161_Detail-ikat.jpg [ 45.86 KiB | Viewed 11388 times ]
File comment: Li tubeskirt
Mail-TACH161_Front.jpg
Mail-TACH161_Front.jpg [ 46.66 KiB | Viewed 11388 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 3:23 pm 
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I just had time to re-visit this page and went over the information on the applique piece that John has. It is beautiful and this type of apron is very rare. I have come across about 6-7 of these over the years and the range of techniques is very interesting. Typically they are appliqued with trade cloth (as John says), but I have had others with applied bead panels and embroidery (something very rare in Borneo textiles) and combinations of all three.

The motifs show intertwining "asos" a term used by the Kayan, Kenyah, Bahau, Modang, Busang, Aoheng, Kelabit , Punan groups of central and eastern Borneo to describe a dragon like creature. The term "aso" literally translate as "dog", but it not meant to describe a dog. The dragon motif is so powerful and to invoke it's name or imagery without special protection and ritual may invite trouble, so the Dayaks call it a dog to fool the spirit of the dragon (hence the confusion). Clever, these Dayaks!

Other motifs, include hornbills (the celestial upper world counterpart to the under world dragon) and several human or ancestor faces. This intertwining and sharing of these motifs and their elements (heads, bodies, tails, teeth, and so on) imply to the viewer the inter-connection of the spirit world with the human world and nature (the forest).

Almost all of these aprons appear to be Kenyah (not Kayan) or Bahau/Modang. If John has more specific information I would not dispute a Kayan attribution as it is possible since the Kayan and Kenyah groups share similar motifs, but I would say it is more likely Kenyah. The more complex pattern and the use of orange are more typically favored by the Kenyah. In addition, the "Apo Kajan" book and the English translation "Across Central Borneo..." has photos from the 1920's showing nearly identical aprons worn by Kenyah women.

I have included an image of a beaded version of this type of apron, coming from the Bahau/Modang group.

I am really enjoying John's contributions to the web site. Borneo rules!!!


Attachments:
beaded_apron_.jpg
beaded_apron_.jpg [ 56.59 KiB | Viewed 11375 times ]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:49 pm 
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Susan

I would think that it is very likely that there may be design links between the Rungus and groups in the Philippines as there is considerable interaction between Sabah and the islands of the Philippines. My colleagues shopping with me in the Sunday market in Kota Kinabalu when I bought the Rungus skirt were shopping for freshwater pearl necklaces from the Philippines. A dynamic ethnobotany graduate student that I recruited from Sabah was an amazing mixture of racial groups which included a Filippino grandparent. (She has continued to widen the gene pool as she has married a German graduate student that she met in Canterbury and they have (at least) a daughter!)

Yes, the Li textiles are created on much narrower looms and thus their skirts are formed from more woven strips.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 2:03 pm 
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Mark's comments re the interpetation and complex relationships of peoples and textiles in Borneo attribution are as always insightful. The apron I posted is nearly identical thematically and in materials to those shown in an old black and white photograph with the title identifying 4 women wearing them as .... kajanfrauen .. which I translate as Kayan women. I'd post the old photo with its title but am uncertain of its origin. Not sure if this is the photo Mark is referring to? Naturally my photo does not show any colors so can't check the orange clue.

Moderator - what's the policy on that?

Would love to see other examples of these aprons. Are they still being made?

Borneo rules indeed!!


Mark Johnson wrote:
I just had time to re-visit this page and went over the information on the applique piece that John has. It is beautiful and this type of apron is very rare. I have come across about 6-7 of these over the years and the range of techniques is very interesting. Typically they are appliqued with trade cloth (as John says), but I have had others with applied bead panels and embroidery (something very rare in Borneo textiles) and combinations of all three.

The motifs show intertwining "asos" a term used by the Kayan, Kenyah, Bahau, Modang, Busang, Aoheng, Kelabit , Punan groups of central and eastern Borneo to describe a dragon like creature. The term "aso" literally translate as "dog", but it not meant to describe a dog. The dragon motif is so powerful and to invoke it's name or imagery without special protection and ritual may invite trouble, so the Dayaks call it a dog to fool the spirit of the dragon (hence the confusion). Clever, these Dayaks!

Other motifs, include hornbills (the celestial upper world counterpart to the under world dragon) and several human or ancestor faces. This intertwining and sharing of these motifs and their elements (heads, bodies, tails, teeth, and so on) imply to the viewer the inter-connection of the spirit world with the human world and nature (the forest).

Almost all of these aprons appear to be Kenyah (not Kayan) or Bahau/Modang. If John has more specific information I would not dispute a Kayan attribution as it is possible since the Kayan and Kenyah groups share similar motifs, but I would say it is more likely Kenyah. The more complex pattern and the use of orange are more typically favored by the Kenyah. In addition, the "Apo Kajan" book and the English translation "Across Central Borneo..." has photos from the 1920's showing nearly identical aprons worn by Kenyah women.

I have included an image of a beaded version of this type of apron, coming from the Bahau/Modang group.

I am really enjoying John's contributions to the web site. Borneo rules!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 8:10 pm 
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John asked:

Quote:
shown in an old black and white photograph ................ I'd post the old photo with its title but am uncertain of its origin. Not sure if this is the photo Mark is referring to? Naturally my photo does not show any colors so can't check the orange clue.

Moderator - what's the policy on that?


It is not clear to me where the photo comes from. The copyright rule for photos is that we should not post photos on the web without permission from the publisher or owner of the photos. Is the photo from a book? If it is a ubiquitous photo which seems to turn up in several publications then I guess you could post it. I have posted a note on this as an announcement at the head of the 'Books' forum. See: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=116

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