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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:37 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
If you're a collector of Iban textiles, please could you let me know if you have within your collection any pua kumbu that has an outermost white selvedge. I attach a photo as an example.

A pua kumbu that has an outermost white border/selvedge is significant for three reasons:

1. It is of a hundred widths or more, these being the maximum 'sizes' a master weaver would weave. Meaning, such a weaver would have completed her first cycle of weaving ten pua kumbu and graduated from a weaver to a master weaver.

2. It could be a 'graduation' piece. Graduation pieces are important as they mark a new status for the weaver. Most weavers have sentimental attachments to their graduation pieces and value them highly.

3. Graduation pieces almost always have significant designs on them. It is supposed to be the pièce de résistance of any weaver.


If you do have one, I would very much like to view it for purposes of my research. You may either show it in this thread or if you prefer privacy you may email me at vernonkeditjolly@yahoo.com


Quote:
The Saribas Order of Pua Widths as recounted by the late Julia Mother of Nan (Julia anak Ipa).

1. In the beginning, you tie fifty widths (one width equals three upper warp belebas and three lower warp belebas which totals eighteen strands of warp yarn), with 'cushions' (additional widths, eg. three 'cushions').

2. Thereafter, you tie sixty widths.

3. Seventy widths.

4. Return to sixty widths.

5. You may tie any amount of widths for your fifth pua so long as you do not exceed eighty widths.

6. Return to seventy widths.

7. Return to sixty widths, with 'cushions'.

8. Eighty widths, with 'cushions'.

9. Ninety widths.

10. Your tenth pua must be of a hundred widths. This pua is called the pua tembu kayu or graduation pua. It must have a white selvedge which is called besemalau labang.

11. After you have graduated, you may weave any number of widths. The selvedge may be white.

12. The hundred widths pua may have nine 'cushions', which is called pua nyeratus.

13. The pua nyeratus ngerang is the pua that has more widths than pua nyeratus.

Reference: http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com/2009/08/ripih-kayu-cycle-of-lengths-ti-ditusoi.html


Attachments:
File comment: My principal informant master weaver Julia Indai Nan tying the warp.
2 (2) - Copy.jpg
2 (2) - Copy.jpg [ 19.92 KiB | Viewed 14332 times ]
File comment: Note the white coloured outermost selvedge/vertical borders on either side of the pua.
white bordered.jpg
white bordered.jpg [ 82.3 KiB | Viewed 14339 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:08 am 
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Vernon

Great information and thank you so much for sharing the photo of Julia Indai Nan with us. It is such a priviledge to be able to see a photo of a weaver (which term, in the case of an Iban weaver, includes of course, the very special skill of tying the warps which we rarely see). Because you are part of (and know all the relationship links of) a family of master weavers it is so special that we can feel that we are getting to know - albeit at a distance - a real person who is a weaver. This is something that I personally find very special. I am not a weaver but I have tried several textile techniques and I always feel close to the person (usually a woman) who has created a textile which 'speaks to me' and want very much to know something about her and her culture and background.

My mantra for the forum 'thank you for sharing', Vernon!

I hope you will get a good response (although it may be over time) to your request for white selvedge pua kumbu. I hope that we, on the forum, will get to see some of them!

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:17 pm 
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Vernon - A wonderful pua and it is great to get all this information. As I mentioned in our emails, I have a pua with an outermost white border also. I will post it when I get back to my own computer.

Yours looks like the "ceremonial palm" pattern?

Could you post when it was woven and can you also give more particulars about it, such as the warp and weft counts as well as the size? I would like to add that information to a list I have been keeping for statistical purposes.

Much appreciated and please keep them coming.

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John


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:31 pm 
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Another thought for Pamela. I have several movies of the weavers. Is there some way to post them? I don't have a blog site.

-John

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:52 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Pamela wrote:
Vernon

Great information and thank you so much for sharing the photo of Julia Indai Nan with us. It is such a priviledge to be able to see a photo of a weaver (which term, in the case of an Iban weaver, includes of course, the very special skill of tying the warps which we rarely see). Because you are part of (and know all the relationship links of) a family of master weavers it is so special that we can feel that we are getting to know - albeit at a distance - a real person who is a weaver. This is something that I personally find very special. I am not a weaver but I have tried several textile techniques and I always feel close to the person (usually a woman) who has created a textile which 'speaks to me' and want very much to know something about her and her culture and background.

My mantra for the forum 'thank you for sharing', Vernon!

I hope you will get a good response (although it may be over time) to your request for white selvedge pua kumbu. I hope that we, on the forum, will get to see some of them!



Dear Pamela

Yes, Iban weavers are really masters of two techniques - the ikat and the tension weave. I'll rummage through my photo collection and see if there are any more pics of weavers tying the warp.

I do hope collectors of Iban textiles reading this thread who do have a white bordered pua share their treasure with us. Such blankets are too special to be hidden away!

Vernon


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:00 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
john wrote:
Vernon - A wonderful pua and it is great to get all this information. As I mentioned in our emails, I have a pua with an outermost white border also. I will post it when I get back to my own computer.

Yours looks like the "ceremonial palm" pattern?

Could you post when it was woven and can you also give more particulars about it, such as the warp and weft counts as well as the size? I would like to add that information to a list I have been keeping for statistical purposes.

Much appreciated and please keep them coming.


Dear John

I think I showed this blanket in the other thread when we were comparing ceremonial poles. It's called the Lemba Bumbun and I would place it squarely in the Classical Period (1900s to 1950s) and of a Layar provenance. I can't be exact with the year, though.

Its use and significance is directly related to the Bird Festival (Gawai Burong), the most prestigious festival of the Saribas Iban. (I shall have to write THAT article!)

I'll need to measure it later when I get home.

Warp count wise, it's nyeratus in Iban weaving terminology, meaning a hundred and nine widths. One width equals 18 strands of warp threads. Multiply that by 109 and you have your warp count. Weft count to the inch or the centimetre?

Vernon


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:56 am 
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Location: east coast
Thanks Vernon for the information.

If I have the width of a half without the border, then I can work out the threads/inch.

How about in the borders? Or are they somewhat "ad libitum?

The wefts (picks?) per inch or cm is fine. They are often double threads? If you have them per cm I can easily convert.

You are a gem. Take care of yourself because a lot of priceless information resides in you.

I am also attaching a pua with the white outer border.



vernonkeditjolly wrote:
john wrote:
Vernon - A wonderful pua and it is great to get all this information. As I mentioned in our emails, I have a pua with an outermost white border also. I will post it when I get back to my own computer.

Yours looks like the "ceremonial palm" pattern?

Could you post when it was woven and can you also give more particulars about it, such as the warp and weft counts as well as the size? I would like to add that information to a list I have been keeping for statistical purposes.

Much appreciated and please keep them coming.


Dear John

I think I showed this blanket in the other thread when we were comparing ceremonial poles. It's called the Lemba Bumbun and I would place it squarely in the Classical Period (1900s to 1950s) and of a Layar provenance. I can't be exact with the year, though.

Its use and significance is directly related to the Bird Festival (Gawai Burong), the most prestigious festival of the Saribas Iban. (I shall have to write THAT article!)

I'll need to measure it later when I get home.

Warp count wise, it's nyeratus in Iban weaving terminology, meaning a hundred and nine widths. One width equals 18 strands of warp threads. Multiply that by 109 and you have your warp count. Weft count to the inch or the centimetre?

Vernon


Attachments:
File comment: iban pua. 87" x 45.5". 120 warp threads/in x 18 wefts/inch.
iban pua 89.jpg
iban pua 89.jpg [ 175.29 KiB | Viewed 14284 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:21 am 
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I am posting several pictures of the weaving process I took at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. I have a number of movies taken with my digital camera but I do not know if they can be posted (Pamela?)

-John


Attachments:
File comment: bindings being tied to the warp threads prior to weaving.
resist_binding_w.jpg
resist_binding_w.jpg [ 74.8 KiB | Viewed 14273 times ]
File comment: bindings removed except for those that will result in the horizontal white row.
some_bindings_removed_after.jpg
some_bindings_removed_after.jpg [ 79.95 KiB | Viewed 14273 times ]
File comment: cotton after the mordant bath so it will absorb the deep red from the engkudu roots
ubung_gar_w.jpg
ubung_gar_w.jpg [ 74.16 KiB | Viewed 14273 times ]
File comment: the roots which produce the prized deep red color.
engkudu_roots_w.jpg
engkudu_roots_w.jpg [ 59.87 KiB | Viewed 14273 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:53 am 
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John,

Interesting photos but please would you remember the forum discipline on images sizes. I have resized all the images in the post above.

No, it is not possible to post movies direct to the forum. However, if you post films or clips to one of the websites like YouTube then you could post a link to that clip on the forum. I have found a website which reviews the top ten sites on which to post http://video-share-review.toptenreviews.com/ but have not had a chance to look at it. However, YouTube seems to take the largest file at 1GB.

Best

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Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:44 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
john wrote:
Thanks Vernon for the information.

If I have the width of a half without the border, then I can work out the threads/inch.

How about in the borders? Or are they somewhat "ad libitum?

The wefts (picks?) per inch or cm is fine. They are often double threads? If you have them per cm I can easily convert.

You are a gem. Take care of yourself because a lot of priceless information resides in you.

I am also attaching a pua with the white outer border.



vernonkeditjolly wrote:
john wrote:
Vernon - A wonderful pua and it is great to get all this information. As I mentioned in our emails, I have a pua with an outermost white border also. I will post it when I get back to my own computer.

Yours looks like the "ceremonial palm" pattern?

Could you post when it was woven and can you also give more particulars about it, such as the warp and weft counts as well as the size? I would like to add that information to a list I have been keeping for statistical purposes.

Much appreciated and please keep them coming.


Dear John

I think I showed this blanket in the other thread when we were comparing ceremonial poles. It's called the Lemba Bumbun and I would place it squarely in the Classical Period (1900s to 1950s) and of a Layar provenance. I can't be exact with the year, though.

Its use and significance is directly related to the Bird Festival (Gawai Burong), the most prestigious festival of the Saribas Iban. (I shall have to write THAT article!)

I'll need to measure it later when I get home.

Warp count wise, it's nyeratus in Iban weaving terminology, meaning a hundred and nine widths. One width equals 18 strands of warp threads. Multiply that by 109 and you have your warp count. Weft count to the inch or the centimetre?

Vernon



Dear John

First, let me address your queries.

If I have the width of a half without the border, then I can work out the threads/inch.

How about in the borders? Or are they somewhat "ad libitum?

The wefts (picks?) per inch or cm is fine. They are often double threads? If you have them per cm I can easily convert.


The borders are always 'ad libitum'. No strict rules define the width of borders.

Weft are often double threaded, sometimes triple, for strength, and also depending on the size of the threads. Very fine chinese threads are sometimes quadrupled. I have seen a single thread weft of quite thick handspun cotton.

I promise I shall measure it tonight when I get home.


Now, on to your delicious white bordered cloth.

1. I think your blanket could be 'related' to the one I attached above. They have the exact arrangement of selvedge colours. Though this could always be a coincidence. But even the style of the coils are similar, and quite tellingly, the dye technique. To the untrained eye, all reds are the same. But each family would have their particular secret methods of arriving at very unique shades of reds. Could they have come from the same longhouse and family?

2. The main design is of the ra'ang baya or jaws of the crocodile. You might see six crocodiles on the cloth but the way an Iban sees it, there is just one crocodile with an opened jaw devouring a enemy. In its belly is the headless torso of the enemy. The crocodile is surrounded by omen birds shrieking the crocodile's victory over its foes. Next to the crocodile is a warrior dressed with plumes of feathers on its head (whom I shall call the protagonist).

This is a pictorial narrative of the cult of head-taking. It could be a wife or mother re-telling a story (hence, a pictorial family history of the protagonist) or it could also be a wife encouraging her husband (the protagonist) to acts of bravery. The crocodile represents the spirit helper of the warrior. All successful warriors and war leaders had spirit helpers who aided them in warfare.

Provenance is Layar, of the Classical Period. Though head-taking had already diminshed during this period with the coming of the White Rajahs and their English laws, head-taking values were still fresh in the psyche of the Iban weaver. It was a time of change and instability. Head-taking was recently outlawed at that time but no one then knew for certain if it would be totally eradicated from the Iban way of life. So the Iban weaver was still very much influenced by the head-hunting paradigm.

John, never part with this piece. It is one of the few narrative-type pieces that actually tell a story using symbols and motifs. (Although Traude Gavin argues that symbols do not exist in Iban weaving taxonomy, I beg to differ. There are some designs and motifs that are recurringly used universally to represent and mean a particular thing. The jaw symbol is one of them and is used in the 'pictorial language' of Iban weavers.)

Vernon


Attachments:
omen birds.jpg
omen birds.jpg [ 4.97 KiB | Viewed 14242 times ]
trophy heads.jpg
trophy heads.jpg [ 14.84 KiB | Viewed 14242 times ]
File comment: The symbol for a jaw. Used universally amongst all weavers.
jaw.jpg
jaw.jpg [ 6.6 KiB | Viewed 14242 times ]
belly.jpg
belly.jpg [ 16.05 KiB | Viewed 14242 times ]
protagonist.jpg
protagonist.jpg [ 9.92 KiB | Viewed 14242 times ]
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
john wrote:
I am posting several pictures of the weaving process I took at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching. I have a number of movies taken with my digital camera but I do not know if they can be posted (Pamela?)

-John


Dear John

Excellent pictures! The late Datin Amar Margaret Linggi did a huge service to the community when she set up the weaving gallery. Now anyone and everyone can weave!

Yet it pains me to see weavers today use plastic strings to tie the warp. It is cheap to purchase such strings found in every sundry shop the length and breath of Sarawak, and very easy to use as it is naturally water-resistant (and therefore dye resistant). BUT, it has one huge drawback - you cannot tie fine patterns with such coarse strings. Only the traditional vegetable lemba fibre coated in beeswax will give you the definition of very fine patterns.

The whole point of weaving for the Iban woman is to display personal diligence and industriousness on the part of the weaver. To move away from the meticulous (and laborious) work of tying with the traditional lemba fibre is, as far as I am concerned, sacrilegious. (I am too old fashioned, they say.)

Vernon


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 Post subject: The white selvedge club
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:27 pm 
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Location: Japan
Vernon, It is an honor to join your white selvedge club. Please tell me what you can about this pua. Best Regards, MAC
P.S. Do I have these photos upsidedown?


Attachments:
_MG_0150.jpg
_MG_0150.jpg [ 173.29 KiB | Viewed 13874 times ]
_MG_0152.jpg
_MG_0152.jpg [ 262 KiB | Viewed 13874 times ]
_MG_0153.jpg
_MG_0153.jpg [ 268.41 KiB | Viewed 13874 times ]
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 Post subject: white selvedge pua
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:29 am 
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Vernon, Here is the other white selvedge pua in my collection. This pua is all handspun and has all natural colors. It is 108X194 cen. and weighs 750 grams. The warps are not as tightly crammed as pua mg0150 and the single weft is somewhat visible. The inner selvedge stripe is a warm brownish green. I think the motifs are omen birds and wonder if you could tell me more about these birds. What are their names and what are the omens they foretell? What can you tell me about the motif that encloses them? This pua I believe is quite old. What do you think? It has the supple feel and patina of long use. The colors are the deep, rich colors of long ago when time, effort, care and a longer list of ingredients went into the dye recipe. The green and white stripes are single warped but the red stripe between them, for some reason, is double warped as are the ikat motifs. The middle stripe of the three triple striped bands has a warp float woven pattern which I think is unusual. Seven threads, 4 green and 3 white, alternate with green up white down white up green down to produce a dash design. This speaks of extra work and care in weaving which also denotes an older age. Where do you think this pua is from? Regards, MAC


Attachments:
_MG_0161.jpg
_MG_0161.jpg [ 194.07 KiB | Viewed 13837 times ]
_MG_0167.jpg
_MG_0167.jpg [ 257.87 KiB | Viewed 13837 times ]
_MG_0164.jpg
_MG_0164.jpg [ 234.57 KiB | Viewed 13837 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:27 pm 
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Dear MAC

Both your pua kumbu come from the Saribas. I believe the practice of enhancing a pua's status and consequently that of its weaver with status markers like the white selvedge is unique and peculiar to the Saribas. I have not seen pua with white selvedge from other regions, nor have I heard of such use of status markers outside of the Saribas.

For identification purposes, let's call the first one Young and the second one Old. Young comes from the Layar tributary of the Saribas while Old has the Paku style.

Alas, both patterns elude me. I have never seen them before. I shall need to study them before I can hazard a guess at what they mean or what the weaver was trying to comunicate.

You suggest that Old is made up of omen birds. May I offer an alternative explanation? Omen birds are messengers of the gods. Which is why a warrior's jacket is usually made up of omen birds because he believes that the gods are covering him with their luck. To truly understand a blanket, one must first assume the mindset of the weaver. What would she weave? What would she want to say? Would she dedicate an entire blanket's main central pattern to omen birds, knowing full well that omen birds are merely messengers?

My observation and opinion is that Old is not made up of omen birds. Omen birds are almost always reserved for the vertical side bands, and seldom depicted in the centre of a blanket. Even if they are depicted in the main central pattern, they would appear in pairs or singularly perched either on a tree branch or flanking a warrior. Omen birds are not grand enough to warrant an entire blanket dedicated to them with the even grander white selvedge. That would displease the gods, that their messengers are usurping their position.

What you have here are probably spirit figures, or even embellished motifs of the trophy-head. Now these spiritually powerful subjects would warrant a blanket of their own and crowned with the white selvedge. But I can't say for sure as I have never seen this pattern before.

You mentioned "this speaks of extra work and care in weaving which also denotes an older age." Your statement suggests that extra work and care denote old age. May I perhaps offer an alternative? Old pua were mostly woven quickly and with as little effort as possible for the simple fact that longhouses in those days were not permanent structures. Communities were constantly on the move for either agricultural reasons (shifting cultivation) or the more immediate danger of raids (head-taking by neighbouring rivals). Longhouses were literally wooden shacks that were easily built and easily dismantled. Women devoted more of their time to farming while the men were at war or defending the community. Weaving took a back seat. It was only into the 20th century when head-taking had ceased that longhouses built of ironwood became permanent structures. Women shared the work of the farm with their menfolk, and slaves and their descendants helped in the more arduous chores. High born women devoted all of their time to weaving. The years from 1920s till the Japanese Occupation saw the zenith of pua kumbu weaving when much care and work went into every piece. So it would be too general a statement to suggest that extra work and care in weaving denotes an older age.

If you were to examine Young, you'll find that the construction of the textile is a meticulous and laborious one. The warp is tightly woven to make the weft invisible. The fringes are all hemmed with supplementary weft. The multi-coloured selvedges are arranged in a particular order. And the kebat or tie dye technique is far superior to Old. Yet, this is a young piece woven some thirty years perhaps after Old.

Having said that, I have seen some ugly young pieces done with little love or care. At the end of the day, age is determined not so much by how much care goes into a blanket but more by the patterning, the colours, the use of threads and the 'style' of the blanket.

MAC, thank you so much for showing these two beautiful pieces. And welcome to the club!


Attachments:
File comment: Young circa 1940s
_mg_0150_521.jpg
_mg_0150_521.jpg [ 173.29 KiB | Viewed 13766 times ]
File comment: Old circa 1900s
_mg_0161_153.jpg
_mg_0161_153.jpg [ 194.07 KiB | Viewed 13766 times ]
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