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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 132
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Dear all

I thought I'd start a thread on articles of clothing of the Saribas Iban.

Much of our everyday attire a century ago were simple loincloths, simple skirts and the odd sarong (which was afforded only by women of rich families who traded with the local chinese). Shirts and trousers followed quickly. Women went about bare-breasted, and the richer ones wore brassieres, not because of modesty but as a prestige symbol to display their wealth and purchasing power.

Jackets were woven only for use at ceremonies and rituals. Much like how suits and dresses are only worn at formal events in the west.

My first instalment is a woman's jacket called a kelambi. (Supplementary weft technique, commercial threads, Classical Period). The weaver would have woven a long piece of cloth and then cut it up into sections which were then sewn together to make a jacket.

This particular jacket's front is left plain with simple flower buds motifs. The weaver goes to town on the back portion where she weaves pretty motifs of maidens wearing headdresses.

Why the back?

In a longhouse celebration, the revellers would sit in concentric circles. The nobility would sit in the first few circles according to status and rank, followed by the commoners in the outer circles and lastly the slaves right at the periphery. A noble woman would therefore sit wearing such a jacket right in the front circles, showing off her pretty patterns to the lesser mortals behind her! Haute couture for its day!

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back.JPG [ 71.76 KiB | Viewed 3829 times ]
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beads.JPG [ 59.9 KiB | Viewed 3828 times ]
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1993
Location: Canterbury, UK

Many thanks for posting this fascinating example of a jacket including all the details which give an idea of the quality and complexity of the weaving.

I am very interested in this ceremonial clothing (as clothing is a particular theme for me) and found it very pleasing to hear of a (very human) reason for the best quality designs being on the back of the jacket!

Edric Ong brought some modern pua in cotton and silk to London for an exhibit in May this year ... php?t=1335 In the exhibit were two beautiful, old shaman's jackets which for me were the stars of the exhibit. The fineness of the weaving was amazing.

Thanks for starting a separate thread for the clothing. It does help later for people to find things when the threads become 'mature' (but never stale!)

on-line tribal textiles resource

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