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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:32 pm 
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Besides mastering the ikat technique, a weaver must also be able to demonstrate her control over the sungkit or supplementary weft method.

Attached is a belantan or ceremonial wrap woven by Sendi. She would wrap all her newborns in this ceremonial wrap at their ritual introduction to the community.


Attachments:
belantan lengthwise.jpg
belantan lengthwise.jpg [ 69.5 KiB | Viewed 9971 times ]
belantan.jpg
belantan.jpg [ 81.45 KiB | Viewed 9970 times ]
belantan right detail.jpg
belantan right detail.jpg [ 90.95 KiB | Viewed 9970 times ]
belantan left detail.jpg
belantan left detail.jpg [ 96.74 KiB | Viewed 9970 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:35 pm 
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She must also be able to richly clothe her husband, her sons and their sons' sons.

Attached is a ceremonial loin-cloth or sirat raja.


Attachments:
sirat.jpg
sirat.jpg [ 75.31 KiB | Viewed 9965 times ]
sirat front.jpg
sirat front.jpg [ 84.78 KiB | Viewed 9965 times ]
sirat back.jpg
sirat back.jpg [ 81.96 KiB | Viewed 9965 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:40 pm 
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And when a weaver performs the high rites and rituals of her people, she must clothe herself with blessings.

Attached a baju burong or jacket patterned with auspicious omen birds (kebat or ikat) with back flap of gold threads (supplementary weft).


Attachments:
baju front.jpg
baju front.jpg [ 77.43 KiB | Viewed 9934 times ]
baju back.jpg
baju back.jpg [ 83.06 KiB | Viewed 9934 times ]
baju back flap.jpg
baju back flap.jpg [ 113.93 KiB | Viewed 9934 times ]


Last edited by vernonkeditjolly on Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:46 pm 
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Sendi bought fine gold threads and very fine English mill yarn in Singapore. Her pièce de résistance in the supplementary weft technique is this kain keberaya or ceremonial sarong.


Attachments:
kain keberaya.jpg
kain keberaya.jpg [ 64.61 KiB | Viewed 9952 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:43 pm 
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Vernon,

Stunning textiles! How very interesting to see what a very accomplished weaver Sendi was across various techniques. What breadth! The baju is amazing. I would love to see some details of the main body of the cloth which seems to be very fine ikat from the glimpse showing above the back flap. The figures of eight (to give the motifs a rough ID) in the flap itself are beautifully curving - dare I say, trust a skilled Iban weaver to produce fine curves!

Questions? On the back flap of the baju the spirit figures (are they?) have different mouth shapes between the front row and the back row. Is there a particular significance in this?

The kain keberaya is so fine and intricate as to almost seem machine woven. It looks to be of silk but I think, from your comments, that it might be very fine English mill yarn. Does it have gold thread? Not easy to tell from the overall photo without a detail.

Am I right in thinking that it would only be a high-born, specially trained weaver who would attempt textiles across such a breadth? I admit to surprise at seeing such a breadth. This thread goes a long way to support claims as to Sendi's consummate skills as a weaver.

Thanks very much for labelling the photo of the family at your father's christening - brings it more alive. I always smile at very small children being 'Aunt....'! I can, however, see the makings of a formidable lady in 'Aunt Alice'!

Very many thanks for continuing this feast for our delight.....

_________________
Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:57 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Pamela wrote:
Vernon,

Stunning textiles! How very interesting to see what a very accomplished weaver Sendi was across various techniques. What breadth! The baju is amazing. I would love to see some details of the main body of the cloth which seems to be very fine ikat from the glimpse showing above the back flap. The figures of eight (to give the motifs a rough ID) in the flap itself are beautifully curving - dare I say, trust a skilled Iban weaver to produce fine curves!

Questions? On the back flap of the baju the spirit figures (are they?) have different mouth shapes between the front row and the back row. Is there a particular significance in this?

The kain keberaya is so fine and intricate as to almost seem machine woven. It looks to be of silk but I think, from your comments, that it might be very fine English mill yarn. Does it have gold thread? Not easy to tell from the overall photo without a detail.

Am I right in thinking that it would only be a high-born, specially trained weaver who would attempt textiles across such a breadth? I admit to surprise at seeing such a breadth. This thread goes a long way to support claims as to Sendi's consummate skills as a weaver.

Thanks very much for labelling the photo of the family at your father's christening - brings it more alive. I always smile at very small children being 'Aunt....'! I can, however, see the makings of a formidable lady in 'Aunt Alice'!

Very many thanks for continuing this feast for our delight.....



Dear Pamela

I'll respond paragraphically for ease of direction:

I would love to see some details of the main body of the cloth which seems to be very fine ikat from the glimpse showing above the back flap. The figures of eight (to give the motifs a rough ID) in the flap itself are beautifully curving - dare I say, trust a skilled Iban weaver to produce fine curves!

All of the ceremonial textiles are in Kuching in the family vaults. These are scanned photos of old printed photos. Hence, the poor quality, and I apologise profusely. I am in the process of slowly having each item professionally photographed and catalogued. The last time I was back in Kuching I managed to take these pictures of the baju, attached, with my handy digital camera. Not very clear, I'm afraid, but they do show some detail.

Curves are difficult to execute with the sungkit method, especially fine ones. It's tedious and laborious picking every single millimetre of weft and warp in order to achieve the best effect of curves. Many modern Iban weavers do not bother anymore, which is a pity.


Questions? On the back flap of the baju the spirit figures (are they?) have different mouth shapes between the front row and the back row. Is there a particular significance in this?


Yes, they are spirit figures. And yes, the top row is snarling whole the bottom row is smiling. The top row figures are called Aji Besumping or Armed Warriors. They are the malevolent spirits who protect the wearer from evil and harm. The bottom row figures are called Manang Iling or Great Healers and they are the benevolent spirits who heal the wearer from curses and spiritual ailments.


The kain keberaya is so fine and intricate as to almost seem machine woven. It looks to be of silk but I think, from your comments, that it might be very fine English mill yarn. Does it have gold thread? Not easy to tell from the overall photo without a detail.

I've shown the kain keberaya to an asian textile 'expert' and after close inspection, she pronounced that it was machine made. She even insisted the ikat blankets (on page 1 of this thread) were either machine made or the designs painted on as they were too fine to have been 'ikat'. She didn't think the 'savage' Iban had such superior technical knowledge or technology to create such textiles. Contrary to what you would have expected, I wasn't insulted in the least, merely amused. And this 'expert' writes books and lectures on and exhibits asian textiles :-)

Yes, it is of very fine yarn and gold wire (they don't manufacture gold wires like this anymore). The knots are loose and the fabric fragile. When I return to Kuching, I shall take close ups and post them here. Sendi wove two pieces, one of 'plain' stars (as pictured above) and one depicting ships on the high seas (a self-portrait of her journeys).


Am I right in thinking that it would only be a high-born, specially trained weaver who would attempt textiles across such a breadth?

Spot-on. Not all Iban families can show ownership of such a wide breadth of textiles. I hope academics and writers now begin to understand that the Iban are not so egalitarian after all and that a loose class/status system exists in the Saribas. Our textiles bear witness.

And yes, Aunt Alice is quite the formidable current matriarch of the family. She lives in Singapore, and is the staunchest Anglican and life-member of the Mothers' Union!

Vernon


Attachments:
baju burong indu.JPG
baju burong indu.JPG [ 123.4 KiB | Viewed 9905 times ]
detail of baju burong indu.JPG
detail of baju burong indu.JPG [ 171.21 KiB | Viewed 9905 times ]


Last edited by vernonkeditjolly on Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:20 am 
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Pamela

Attached are the front and back flaps of the oldest ceremonial loin-cloth of the family. You'll recognise the front flap as being the first item I presented on page one of this thread.

There is a dispute over authorship. Indai Nan insisted they were woven by Sendi while Indai Gulang insisted it was Mengan, Sendi's mother, who wove them. Grandmom had since passed away and most of the deepest esoteric knowledge resided with her, including memory of who wove what. Aunt Alice declared that it really didn't matter as Mengan and Sendi often wove together and worked on each other's pieces.

For current purposes, let's attribute authorship to Mengan in deference to the mother.


Attachments:
sirat mengan.jpg
sirat mengan.jpg [ 98.48 KiB | Viewed 9898 times ]
sirat mengan back.jpg
sirat mengan back.jpg [ 93.95 KiB | Viewed 9898 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:28 am 
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For readers who might not have read my blog, http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com, Indai Nan (Ini Julia) and Indai Gulang (Ini Yak) were my teachers and principal informants. Both were grandaunts.


Attachments:
File comment: Sister to Granddad, who was the son-in-law of Sendi. Indai Nan was also a pupil of Sendi.
Indai Nan.jpg
Indai Nan.jpg [ 60.25 KiB | Viewed 9894 times ]
File comment: Niece of Sendi. Her father was Sendi's brother.
Indai Gulang.jpg
Indai Gulang.jpg [ 77.21 KiB | Viewed 9894 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:45 am 
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Indai Nan was a pupil of Sendi and accompanied her on her travels to Singapore, where this photograph was taken just before the Japanese Occupation.


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family portrait.JPG
family portrait.JPG [ 85.14 KiB | Viewed 9889 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:00 pm 
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Vernon,

Very, very many thanks for your considered answers and the additional photos. I smiled to have identified Aunt Alice as a future matriarch (and power to be reckoned with)! Interesting how photos, even the very posed ones of the period, pick up characteristics :wink:!

I am interested that the two fine ends of the loincloth (the ends only) are quite different one from the other and the ends of loincloth which has its long length of fabric are also different although not quite so extremely so. Is there any tradition as to which end would be worn in front and which behind? I can see that, in your Facebook profile, you are wearing the loincloth with the end on the left in your photo here to the front. Aaagh! I can see that you have shown 'sirat mengan back' and sirat mengan'. Yes, it seems right that the spirits should be on the front, not the back - I don't think I would be comfortable wearing them the other way around.

With the photo of Indai Gulang, are those all pua that she has woven surrounding you both? I can see white selvedges down the side indicating a master weaver.

So, was 'Grandmom' Sendi's daughter as 'Granddad, who was son-in-law of Sendi'? Did your Grandmom weave. I think that Indai Gulang and Indai Nan would have been about the same generation as Grandmom. Did Grandmom live away from Sarawak in Singapore?

Sorry, lots of questions.....

My mantra for the forum is 'sharing' - thank you so very much, Vernon for so wholeheartedly sharing your family and cultural heritage with us here.

_________________
Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:57 pm 
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vernonkeditjolly wrote:
Sendi bought fine gold threads and very fine English mill yarn in Singapore. Her pièce de résistance in the supplementary weft technique is this kain keberaya or ceremonial sarong.


Grettings - I am back from vacation and clearing away all the piled up work. The forum continues my vacation.

Vernon - what absolutely phenomenal pieces you are showing! They both touch my heart and break it at the same time. - The acquisitive collector.

If this piece is sungkit work it is priceless!. From what I can see, her control is the type you must be born with. Like the technique of a great pianist, practice is essential but there is a level you have to be born with and no amount of practice alone can reach it. And then you use it make the greatest music.

Did Sendi ever use the Malay type loom?

-John

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:24 am 
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Pamela wrote:
Vernon,

Very, very many thanks for your considered answers and the additional photos. I smiled to have identified Aunt Alice as a future matriarch (and power to be reckoned with)! Interesting how photos, even the very posed ones of the period, pick up characteristics :wink:!

I am interested that the two fine ends of the loincloth (the ends only) are quite different one from the other and the ends of loincloth which has its long length of fabric are also different although not quite so extremely so. Is there any tradition as to which end would be worn in front and which behind? I can see that, in your Facebook profile, you are wearing the loincloth with the end on the left in your photo here to the front. Aaagh! I can see that you have shown 'sirat mengan back' and sirat mengan'. Yes, it seems right that the spirits should be on the front, not the back - I don't think I would be comfortable wearing them the other way around.

With the photo of Indai Gulang, are those all pua that she has woven surrounding you both? I can see white selvedges down the side indicating a master weaver.

So, was 'Grandmom' Sendi's daughter as 'Granddad, who was son-in-law of Sendi'? Did your Grandmom weave. I think that Indai Gulang and Indai Nan would have been about the same generation as Grandmom. Did Grandmom live away from Sarawak in Singapore?

Sorry, lots of questions.....

My mantra for the forum is 'sharing' - thank you so very much, Vernon for so wholeheartedly sharing your family and cultural heritage with us here.


Dear Pamela

Don't be sorry you have many questions. Just ask away! That's what you created this forum for, and I'm enjoying it very much.

Your first question on the sirat. There really isn't a strict tradition on what goes where (design-wise) and how it's worn (back or front). Ceremonial attire is really decorative, and so a weaver is expected to demonstrate her skill at technique rather than her spiritual strength.

For ease of identification, I have named the pictures with labels of 'back' and 'front' and but really, at the end of the day, it's a matter of personal taste of the person wearing it. I've attached two pictures - one of me many, many years ago wearing Sendi's sirat and a second photo of a nephew also wearing the same sirat but he has it the other way around. There is only one very strict rule: the back end must always be hanging longer then the front end.

Your second question. Those pua kumbu belong to Indai Gulang's adopted mother Jelawai (who was in actual fact her grandaunt by blood and therefore Sendi's aunt-in-law). Jelawai was also a master weaver and was a contemporary of Mengan (Sendi's mother). In weaving hierachy, she was one rank below Sendi as she did not master the dye but only mastered the tie. Indai Gulang worked on finishing Jelawai's last piece and therefore claimed the right to call it her own too. (picture attached)

Your last question.

So, was 'Grandmom' Sendi's daughter as 'Granddad, who was son-in-law of Sendi'? Did your Grandmom weave. I think that Indai Gulang and Indai Nan would have been about the same generation as Grandmom. Did Grandmom live away from Sarawak in Singapore?

Yes, Grandmom (Inja) was Sendi's daughter. Which meant Granddad was Sendi's son-in-law. Grandmom, unfortunately, did not weave the blanket. Her education in weaving abruptly ended when she married Granddad at the age of thirteen and left the longhouse for Singapore almost immediately. Indai Nan was Grandmom's sister-in-law and Indai Gulang was Grandmom's blood cousin (or by affinity, aunt, if we recognise her through adoption by Jelawai). Although Grandmom did not weave the blanket, her posthumous honour was 'tiga belas igi jabir', or equivalent to that of a master weaver because she had mastered the art of sewing and tailoring in Singapore and this was recognised by her community. She had also inherited all the esoteric and spiritual knowledge of her family from her mother Sendi. (pic attached)

Vernon


Attachments:
pic05.jpg
pic05.jpg [ 53.67 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
File comment: Jelawai's ultimate piece was finished by Indai Gulang. As Jelawai had passed away, Sendi (being the most senior weaver in the family) took the honour of naming this blanket. She called it the Seletak Bintang Banyak or The Seven Sisters (Pleiades).
Seleta Bintang Banyak (2).JPG
Seleta Bintang Banyak (2).JPG [ 75.61 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
File comment: Sendi's sirat
bersirat.jpg
bersirat.jpg [ 52.33 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
File comment: Sendi's sirat (boy on right)
4947_101502969859994_100000008754590_42444_8063357_n.jpg
4947_101502969859994_100000008754590_42444_8063357_n.jpg [ 47.68 KiB | Viewed 9780 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:46 am 
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john wrote:
vernonkeditjolly wrote:
Sendi bought fine gold threads and very fine English mill yarn in Singapore. Her pièce de résistance in the supplementary weft technique is this kain keberaya or ceremonial sarong.


Grettings - I am back from vacation and clearing away all the piled up work. The forum continues my vacation.

Vernon - what absolutely phenomenal pieces you are showing! They both touch my heart and break it at the same time. - The acquisitive collector.

If this piece is sungkit work it is priceless!. From what I can see, her control is the type you must be born with. Like the technique of a great pianist, practice is essential but there is a level you have to be born with and no amount of practice alone can reach it. And then you use it make the greatest music.

Did Sendi ever use the Malay type loom?

-John



Welcome back John!

You do my great-grandmom much honour, for which I am most humbled by. Thank you for acknowledging her art.

Sendi did not use the Malay loom. The kain keberaya was woven by the backstrap tension loom. I know, the mind boggles. You're not the first textile collector to think it nearly impossible but there you have it. The cloth speaks for itself.

As far as I know, Sendi was the only Saribas weaver to have ever achieved such control. Others have tried, and I attach pictures of their cloths. To be fair, Sendi had the advantage of working with extremely fine threads which she acquired on her travels to Singapore.

Vernon


Attachments:
pua007.jpg
pua007.jpg [ 133.4 KiB | Viewed 9771 times ]
File comment: That's Hanne Christensen's feet in the background :-)

http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com/2009/09/hanne-christensen.html

pua006.jpg
pua006.jpg [ 119.25 KiB | Viewed 9771 times ]
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