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 Post subject: Seven Pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 246
Location: Japan
What river and/or longhouse are these pua from? What are the motifs and what are the approximate ages? This pua, #7, has selvedge stripes similar to #5. Could it also be from the Saribas river area? It is mill thread and has chemical dyes in the stripes.

All of these photos were kindly taken for me by Mr. Isamu Takei.


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 7 86X196 cen.
weight 450 grams

_MG_0203.jpg
_MG_0203.jpg [ 138.33 KiB | Viewed 10290 times ]
File comment: Pua 7
_MG_0206.jpg
_MG_0206.jpg [ 239.66 KiB | Viewed 10290 times ]
File comment: Pua 7
_MG_0209.jpg
_MG_0209.jpg [ 250.32 KiB | Viewed 10290 times ]


Last edited by MAC on Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Seven Pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Pua 6 This pua seems to be fine handspun thread and has a double weft.


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 6 116X244 cen.
weight 850 grams

_MG_0170.jpg
_MG_0170.jpg [ 165.56 KiB | Viewed 10286 times ]
File comment: Pua 6
_MG_0172.jpg
_MG_0172.jpg [ 253.89 KiB | Viewed 10286 times ]
File comment: Pua 6
_MG_0175.jpg
_MG_0175.jpg [ 251.21 KiB | Viewed 10286 times ]


Last edited by MAC on Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Seven pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Pua 5 Do the colors in the selvedge stripes indicate that this is a pua from the Saribas river? It seems to be fine handspun thread with a double weft. The warps are tightly crammed making the weft almost invisible.


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 5 95X219 cen.
weight 520 grams

_MG_0141.jpg
_MG_0141.jpg [ 152.72 KiB | Viewed 10278 times ]
File comment: Pua 5
_MG_0143.jpg
_MG_0143.jpg [ 258.32 KiB | Viewed 10277 times ]
File comment: Pua 5
_MG_0145.jpg
_MG_0145.jpg [ 255.26 KiB | Viewed 10277 times ]


Last edited by MAC on Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Seven Pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Pua 4 This pua seems to be fine handspun thread except for the red selvedge stripes which are mill thread and chemically dyed. It is somewhat loosly woven and the double weft is easily visible. It has lovely olive and tan stripes which are handspun and natural. The red stripes are chemical mill thread and tripple warped.


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 4 103X207 cen.
weight 500 grams

_MG_0130.jpg
_MG_0130.jpg [ 163.85 KiB | Viewed 10274 times ]
File comment: Pua 4
_MG_0136.jpg
_MG_0136.jpg [ 219.58 KiB | Viewed 10274 times ]
File comment: Pua 4
_MG_0139.jpg
_MG_0139.jpg [ 241.89 KiB | Viewed 10274 times ]


Last edited by MAC on Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Seven Pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:21 pm 
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Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Pua 3 This pua is trippled warped and has a tripple weft. Any weaver who was that lazy would probably not spin her own thread if mill thread was available. The selvedge stripes, unlike the ikated threads, are only double warped. The red stripes are chemical dye but here again is that olive stripe which seems to be handspun and natural.


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 3 101X197 cen.
weight 500 grams

_MG_0119.jpg
_MG_0119.jpg [ 185.14 KiB | Viewed 10269 times ]
File comment: Pua 3
_MG_0123.jpg
_MG_0123.jpg [ 270.57 KiB | Viewed 10269 times ]
File comment: Pua 3
_MG_0126.jpg
_MG_0126.jpg [ 251.14 KiB | Viewed 10269 times ]


Last edited by MAC on Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Seven Pua Kumbu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 1:01 am
Posts: 246
Location: Japan
Pua 1 and 2 All of these photos were kindly taken for me by Mr. Isamu Takei.


Attachments:
File comment: Pua 1 95X204 cen.
weight 610 grams

_MG_0103.jpg
_MG_0103.jpg [ 166.29 KiB | Viewed 10263 times ]
File comment: Pua 1
_MG_0107.jpg
_MG_0107.jpg [ 275.83 KiB | Viewed 10263 times ]
File comment: Pua 2 86X204 cen.
weight 530 grams

_MG_0111.jpg
_MG_0111.jpg [ 149.96 KiB | Viewed 10263 times ]
File comment: Pua 2
_MG_0114.jpg
_MG_0114.jpg [ 253.73 KiB | Viewed 10263 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
MAC

What a great group of pua especially when taken together with your 'white selvedge club' examples!

I can't make any informative comments on them but can only enjoy them. I find the variations in design very interesting especially when they are stacked up together. Difficult, of course, from the relatively small images of the overall textiles to quite gauge them. The slightly less complex ones come over more strongly in these web photos yet I suppose the more complex ones - if finely executed - might be deemed more worthy within their original Iban audience.

Do you mind if I ask you some questions about your collection? How did you first come to collect pua and when was it? Did you find them all in Borneo? I am curious for myself - I find it fascinating to learn more about how forum members succumbed to the 'textile virus' as Monique so eloquently phrases it - and also because I know that there are others who are following these pua threads with great interest who are new, aspiring or hesitant collectors of pua.

Many thanks,

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Pamela

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Dear MAC

These are my observations:


Pua 7
Provenance: Saratok, a district of the Saribas.
Period: 1940s.
Pattern: Unknown.


Pua 6
Provenance: Julau.
Period: 1940s.
Pattern: Unknown.


Pua 5
Provenance: Saribas.
Period: 1940s.
Pattern: The Berinjan. (see http://vernonkeditjolly.blogspot.com/2009/10/one-of-oldest-patterns-known-to-iban.html)


Pua 4
Provenance: Saribas.
Period: 1930s.
Pattern: A variation on the Simbang Terabai (Handle of the Shield) or the Buah Lebor Api (Pattern of the Flaming Fire, not to be confused with the Pua Lebor Api which is the pua sungkit). Different families call it by different names. The yellow selvedge indicates it was woven by a master dyer.


Pua 3
Provenance: Saribas.
Period: 1930s.
Pattern: Bulan Menyimbang (The Crescent Moon).


Pua 2
Provenance: Saribas.
Period: 1900s. The oldest in this collection. No trace of chemical dyes.
Pattern: Unknown.


Pua 1
Provenance: Saribas.
Period: 1940s.
Pattern: Unknown.


Vernon's pick: Pua 5 (fine weaving and good use of space), Pua 4 (high status) and Pua 3 (fine execution of an old pattern).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Vernon

(What an exposition across the the 3 threads re MAC's pua....thank you so much!)

I am curious that you say that pua 4 of these 7 is high status. I presume that this is the actual design? It is the most 'empty', so very different from 5. On this thread 4 comes over very strongly because of its larger scale and therefore impact.

Thanks again for all the thought given to your careful review of the pua and to your subsequent information and comments. (I think that we could do with projection of all the pua onto a very large screen accompanied by your voice-over!)

_________________
Pamela

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Pamela wrote:
Vernon

(What an exposition across the the 3 threads re MAC's pua....thank you so much!)

I am curious that you say that pua 4 of these 7 is high status. I presume that this is the actual design? It is the most 'empty', so very different from 5. On this thread 4 comes over very strongly because of its larger scale and therefore impact.

Thanks again for all the thought given to your careful review of the pua and to your subsequent information and comments. (I think that we could do with projection of all the pua onto a very large screen accompanied by your voice-over!)


Dear Pamela,

It's my pleasure to share as much as I know with the forum.

Pua 4 is high status not because of its pattern but because of the use of the colour yellow as the outermost selvedge. Pattern-wise, it is also high (being of the actual pattern of the Blazing Fire but not to be confused with the pua called Lebor Api which is a sungkit pua and also known as the Blazing Fire) but the yellow band makes it even more so. Yellow is the mark of a master dyer.

Status-wise, Pua 4 outranks everyone else in this set.


Attachments:
File comment: The Pua Lebor Api or Blanket of the Blazing Fire which displays the pattern also called the Blazing Fire.
Lebor Api Late Classical.JPG
Lebor Api Late Classical.JPG [ 136.01 KiB | Viewed 10149 times ]
File comment: The Buah or Pattern of the Blazing Fire of the Paku (Saribas). Woven by my grandfather's great-grandmother, one of the oldest blankets in our family, and used to receive trophy-heads.
DSC03066.JPG
DSC03066.JPG [ 64.96 KiB | Viewed 10151 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Vernon

Many thanks for the status info and the photos of the two different Blazing Fire motive pua.

'my grandfather's great-grandmother' - your great, great, great grandmother (I think)! Not sure which sounds oldest! Very special that it has survived so long and so well.

Something that always worries me - with the care of textiles in mind - is how some of the most beautiful pua were used to wrap heads. I think of this as a messy business and that the pua would be stained. I realise that this is very Western and counter to the core cultural values for which the pua were woven.

_________________
Pamela

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Pamela wrote:
Vernon

Many thanks for the status info and the photos of the two different Blazing Fire motive pua.

'my grandfather's great-grandmother' - your great, great, great grandmother (I think)! Not sure which sounds oldest! Very special that it has survived so long and so well.

Something that always worries me - with the care of textiles in mind - is how some of the most beautiful pua were used to wrap heads. I think of this as a messy business and that the pua would be stained. I realise that this is very Western and counter to the core cultural values for which the pua were woven.



Dear Pamela

I was going to reserve the debunking of one of the greatest myths associated with the pua kumbu in a proper published article or book. But since you have brought up the subject, perhaps I'll give a quick explanation.

The idea of a bloody head dripping with blood and then wrapped up unceremoniously in a pua kumbu is really a myth. A very gory myth that works well with the romanticism of the era.

In actual fact, when warriors return with trophy heads from a raid or battle, they do not bring their trophy heads directly into the longhouse. They would clear an area within earshot of their longhouse, and make camp there for seven nights. The trophy heads would be cleaned and then smoked over a gentle fire to dry it out. At the same time, the women back at the longhouse would start preparing the feast and most importantly, repairing or re-starching their prized pua kumbu for the enchaboh arong ceremony (the ritual of receiving a trophy head). Everybody would know that the warriors have returned safely but everybody would keep up the pretense that they are still away on the raid.

On the eighth morning, the warriors would dress up in their finery (presumably smuggled out of the longhouse to them by a precocious younger brother or cousin) and begin their procession from the clearing to the main stairs of the longhouse. Music would be played on gongs (also presumably smuggled in the dead of night the night before from the longhouse) as the men make their victorious approach, not unlike jubilant Caesar entering Rome to much fanfare. The women would also have woken up early and prepared themselves and all the ritual objects for the ceremony. Food and wine would be waiting in the longhouse communal gallery. Maidens would dress up and wait to be courted by the brave warriors.

Upon reaching the stairs, the lead warrior would present his trophy head (or heads) to either his wife (if he is married) or his mother (if he is unmarried) with much shouting and yelling of war cries. The woman receiving the head would be waiting with a large plate in her arms over which a pua kumbu would be meticulously draped. The angle and the manner is very important as the most potent motif on the pattern must touch the base of the trophy head when it is placed on the pua. The trophy head, by now fully dried out and hair perfectly combed, would be placed carefully on the pua kumbu in the plate. The man would hold the head above the cloth while the woman would adjust the angles of her arms to find the best 'repository' position for the head. The pua kumbu is not wrapped around the head. It merely serves as a base cloth for the head. The woman would then welcome the head as she would welcome a new born babe, singing the trophy head lullaby to it as she gently cradles and rocks it (known as the naku pala). It is at this point that the powerful spirit of the pua is then believed to envelope and negate/neutralise all negative forces of the enemy's head. Then the next warrior in rank would do the same, until all the warriors have presented their heads. No wild dramatics. All very civilised.

Then the heads are taken out to the tanju (open air verandah) where the enchaboh arong ceremony proper begins. After chants and prayers and blessings culminating in the climactic ritual bite (the women bite the heads as a sign of victory over the enemy - this bit, I agree, is somewhat gruesome and horrific), the heads would then be placed in rattan baskets and then hung in the longhouse over the entrance of their respective owners' bilik.

That is why you will never have blood stains on any pua kumbu for the simple reason that all trophy heads are smoked and dried for seven days and nights before they are ceremonially presented to the longhouse. Any stain a dealer tells you is a blood stain is an outright lie to inflate his profits. Or if there really is a stain, it would most probably have come from food or drink spilt on the pua during festivities. The only time I have seen real blood stains on a pua was when a slaughtered sacrificial cockerel in its death throes flicked a few droplets of its blood onto the nearby displayed blanket during a miring (blessing ceremony), which annoyed its owner immensely. Nasty business as animal blood has a horrid stench. We like our cloths clean and unblemished, more so if they are masterpieces of high status.

If you hear fanciful stories of human blood stains on a pua kumbu, just smile and enjoy the tale.


Attachments:
File comment: Iban Women Dancing With Human Heads. Reproduced from: The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, Charles Hose and William McDougall. MacMillan and Co. Ltd., London, UK. 1912. Plate 106, p. 188.
9917_154500953321_572243321_2492216_747886_n.jpg
9917_154500953321_572243321_2492216_747886_n.jpg [ 105.81 KiB | Viewed 10119 times ]


Last edited by vernonkeditjolly on Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Vernon

Very many thanks indeed for your explanation of the 7 days of drying and smoking of the heads and then their cermonial arrival at the longhouse. My textile conservation fears are assuaged! Thanks for this pre-publication insight!

The photo is excellent. I think I have seen it before. Do you have the details? Date, location etc? It is an extremely good one as it has caught the interaction between participants (including the head) and illustrates the textiles in use well.

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Pamela

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Pamela wrote:
Vernon

Very many thanks indeed for your explanation of the 7 days of drying and smoking of the heads and then their cermonial arrival at the longhouse. My textile conservation fears are assuaged! Thanks for this pre-publication insight!

The photo is excellent. I think I have seen it before. Do you have the details? Date, location etc? It is an extremely good one as it has caught the interaction between participants (including the head) and illustrates the textiles in use well.


Dear Pamela,

The citation for the photo is as follows:

Iban Women Dancing With Human Heads. Reproduced from: The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, Charles Hose and William McDougall. MacMillan and Co. Ltd., London, UK. 1912. Plate 106, p. 188.


We must thank John Kreifeldt for finding the photo in the first place and then sharing it with me for my posting on the Lebor Api at my blog.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
aagh! On your blog! That was where I had seen it. I try to keep in touch with what you are posting there.

Many thanks for adding the citation - I do like tying up loose ends!

Best,

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Pamela

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


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