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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - QUINTESSENTIALLY SARIBAS: Portrait of an Iban weaver

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:24 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
I hope to introduce the reader to the Saribas style and tradition as portrayed by the weavings of Sendi Ketit, who was known as Indai Gumbek (mother of Gumbek) to her contemporaries. She was born in 1892 and passed away aged 82 in 1974.

She lived in Stambak Ulu, a stream that flowed into the Layar river, which was one of the two main tributaries of the Saribas river. The Saribas river basin is in the southern region of Sarawak, a state in Malaysia on the island of Borneo.

Attached are three blankets and a ceremonial loin-cloth front flap. (The first three pieces have never been published before and make their 'debut appearance' here.) The fourth piece is a well-known blanket that has appeared in Edric Ong's book, 'Pua: Iban Weavings of Sarawak'.

I welcome the reader's comments, questions and thoughts.

Thank you.

Vernon


PS. Pamela, I've exceeded the size limits. Help! [I've edited down any images which were wider than 600 px but, at the moment, have not reduced the file size of the images. Pamela]


Attachments:
File comment: SENDI KETIT
sendiketit.jpg
sendiketit.jpg [ 157.58 KiB | Viewed 11682 times ]
File comment: FRONT FLAP OF A CEREMONIAL LOIN-CLOTH. COMMERCIAL YARN AND FINE GOLD THREADS.
tanda sirat.JPG
tanda sirat.JPG [ 154.16 KiB | Viewed 11682 times ]
File comment: COMMERCIALLY COLOURED YARN ON SELVEDGES. NATURAL VEGETABLE DYES ON MILLSPUN YARN FOR WARP PANELS.

213cm by 110cm

SK010.JPG
SK010.JPG [ 114.33 KiB | Viewed 11682 times ]
File comment: COMMERCIALLY COLOURED YARN ON SELVEDGES. NATURAL VEGETABLE DYES ON MILLSPUN YARN FOR WARP PANELS.

202cm by 103cm

SK012.JPG
SK012.JPG [ 112.16 KiB | Viewed 11682 times ]
File comment: COMMERCIALLY COLOURED YARN ON SELVEDGES. NATURAL VEGETABLE DYES ON MILLSPUN YARN FOR WARP PANELS.

210cm by 108cm

SK015.jpg
SK015.jpg [ 102.3 KiB | Viewed 11682 times ]
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:37 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
The Saribas pua kumbu :


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:08 am 
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Although the appreciation of the pua kumbu is by taking a lingering and unhurried look at the blanket in its entirety and contemplating its composition and how each composite is put together to form the whole, the trained Iban eye would inevitably settle and gaze on the central pattern. It is here that the name and spiritual significance of the blanket are found.

The critical Saribas eye would further look at the careful construction of coils and tendrils and 'measure' the lines and overall use of space.

An important aesthetic value is the counterpoint of elegant curves on very straight lines.


Attachments:
File comment: Heavenly Hosts
SK010 main.JPG
SK010 main.JPG [ 160.36 KiB | Viewed 11677 times ]
File comment: Spiritual Palms
SK012 main.JPG
SK012 main.JPG [ 149.61 KiB | Viewed 11676 times ]
File comment: The Great Unseen
SK015 main.jpg
SK015 main.jpg [ 141.85 KiB | Viewed 11676 times ]
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:07 am 
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One of the most important criteria of a well constructed blanket is its rich and deep 'burgundy' colour. The term in Iban for such a colour is 'mansau' or 'ripe'.


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mansau_w.jpg
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:16 am 
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The blue of indigo (called tarum in Iban) should be used sparingly and only as accents and highlights.

It was a weaver's secret how she would colour certain folds of the warp blue and leave the same parts of the other folds uncoloured.


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tarum.JPG
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:05 pm 
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A weaver's true worth is measured by the 'tightness' of her coils, the 'straightness' of her lines, the 'slope' of her curves and ultimately the intricacy of her embellishments against a 'canvass' of deep maroon.

She has to master three techniques; the kebat (tie: precision tying is needed to execute perfect lines and curves), the mengkudu (dye: absolute control of temperature and chemicals) and the tenun (backstrap tension weave: inconsistent tension will result in uneven warping/'stretching' of the yarn, causing lines to bend or break).


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embellishments_w.jpg
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:58 pm 
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The collector sees six deers.

But the Iban sees a doe with its fawn trampling the head of the serpent in a garden where the tree of knowledge grows while heavenly beings watch in awe.

A dynamic illustration; a surprising shift from conventional motifs to very expressive and graphic representations. What was the weaver's statement? Is this a contradiction or a blurred blending of pantheons and belief systems, the old and the new? Or was she quietly endorsing an old concept using new symbols?


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doe_and_fawn_w.jpg
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:12 pm 
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Sendi, seated far right, at the baptism of her grandson, Albert Rumpang, at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore. Pre WW2.


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st.andrews cathedral singapore.jpg
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:07 pm 
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Six hooks with suspended lamps?

The language of coils and thorns is a language shrouded from the uninitiated. Only weavers speak this language, and only silently through their fingers. The initiated eye sees a woven rattan basket filled with the very essence of fertility - a human trophy head. The ultimate 'seed'.

The Saribas woman weaves not just threads but also profound philosophies and secret stories, legends and lessons. She is an historian, a magician, a storyteller and a priest.


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igi_w.jpg
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:19 pm 
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If you were to stare at this image long enough, you might just be transported to another realm of consciouness; a transcendental experience. And if that were to happen, then the weaver would have accomplished her magic.

A weaver is also a captor, and that is why she is much respected by her peers.


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berasok.JPG
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:31 pm 
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Her art is not finished unless she weaves the metal of the gods, the fire of heaven.

She no longer caresses perishable cotton but immutable and eternal gold. Now she may rest.


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mas_w.jpg
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:44 pm 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:30 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:09 am 
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