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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:36 pm 
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Location: Portugal
Dear Vernon Kedit Jolly (and others who are more knowledgeable than I am), I was struck by a similarity between a cloth you uploaded (isi.jpg) and this one in my Pusaka Collection. I would love to know more about the meaning and the name of the pattern.

I am new to this forum and hope that I have followed correct procedure by starting an new topic. If not, please correct me.

If you are interested, please check out some of my other Iban pieces, accessible on http://www.ikat.us/ikat_borneo.php

In the coming days I aim to upload some or indeed all of them to invite comments. I am very keen to improve the information on my website.

Greetings to all,
Peter ten Hoopen


Attachments:
File comment: This cloth was field collected by an acquaintances of mine in the 1970s.
ikat_036.jpg
ikat_036.jpg [ 309.06 KiB | Viewed 13270 times ]

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www.ikat.us

PUSAKA COLLECTION: ONLINE MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hello Peter, >sounds like a Dutch name by the way< for reliable information on the patterns of Iban textiles I only know/use two books;
'Iban or Sea dayak fabrics and their patterns' by Haddon and Start.
Available online and costs perhaps a $23.00 written in english and you will have a very valuable book; dont think you will be disapointed! B/W pics also but very descriptive.
Second book -much less descriptive but nice pics n other artifacts as well- is 'Living in Sarawak' by Tetonni and Ong. Actually a more interiorbook but quite nice. Bit more expensive as its a coffeetable-size-book and all in color. Many artifacts n old pics etc.
Has a couple of textiles in it with the names of motives noted with them. Relieable.

Ah as got two nice good old pua myself at the moment and a rare 19cent. front end of a loincloth (intricately embroidered) shall post some picture candy ;->

>>>Second one; with Clouded Leopard motive (S n mirrored S )

>>>first more narrow one; mixed jungle insects and (hidden) skull basket motif (in between the 2 white triangular spirits; the dark A line ending in a straight line 'inside' a basket-like motif. See last close up picture


Attachments:
File comment: SKULL BASKET MOTIVE; subtlely inbetween the 2 white triangular spirits
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File comment: MIXED JUNGLE MOTIVES (beetles, fireflies etc) AND SKULLBASKET MOTIVE
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IMG_6387.jpg
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File comment: CLOUDED LEOPARD MOTIVE
IMG_6077.jpg
IMG_6077.jpg [ 134.68 KiB | Viewed 13250 times ]


Last edited by wtckleiman on Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Just saw they reversed the following order of pictures :(

B.t.w. also got this very rare Iban loincloth end intricately embroidered
(this one is actually also for sale! but wont go into that here in the 'general thread')

Best greetings to all, Wouter


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1.aa.jpg
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2..jpg
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3..jpg
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File comment: loincloth picture and description from the Haddon n Start book (also describing it very rare)
4.a.jpg
4.a.jpg [ 99.19 KiB | Viewed 13243 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Hi Woulter

I managed to find an old thread with several posts by Vernon Kedit with Iban (Saribas) loincloths http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ight=#4543 including some photos of a young Vernon wearing examples. Not at all helpful to Peter, of course, but I thought you might both enjoy seeing them. You will see that the focus of the thread is on the sungkit technique used in the loincloths as well as other items.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:07 am 
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Hi Pamela, yes thank you. Though personnally I am more interested in the old antique examples. With all respect to the very neat, intricate and well done 'revival' examples. For me they somehow mis the total picture'message' of a pua; they seem to be more focused on the technique itself and smallersize (dificult to make) motives.

Compare the Clouded Leopard-pua of mine (early 20th cent example)with one of such revival examples.
One could also say that the revival pua's are actually too good n well made! :D . As I am certainly not striving to insult or be negative about dear grandmothers' pua!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:03 pm 
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Hi Woulter

I am totally confused as to where you get the idea of 'revival' with Vernon Kedit's family heirloom textiles. He is descended from the leading Iban family in the Saribas whose females going back for generations were master weavers of the highest calibre (and wives of famous Iban warriors - and head-hunters). As he has described himself ("Restoring Panggau Libau: A Reassessment of Engkeramba' in Saribas Iban Ritual Textiles (Pua' Kumbu') in the Borneo Research Bulletin of 2009 Vol. 40) he is "... an Iban who is an eight-generation descendant of at least five generations of master Saribas Iban weavers". What I think you dismiss as 'revival' is the development of the tradition by women using fine threads which the wealth of the family allowed to be purchased. The spiritual raison d'etre for the weavings and their symbolism remained very strong through the later generations of weavers.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:49 am 
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Hi Pamela, oh no 'dismiss' is really not the term please. I have assumed that in the timeframe since 1900 there has been a pause in making these pua's as result of declining old traditions with the introduction of Western influence (Saribas is near the coast and therefore quite vulnerable).
With this 'assumed pause' in mind I have used the term 'revival'.
Question; was my assumption wright or has the pua-weaving tradition been persistent since 1900 (in the Saribas region)? >>this would be THE place to ask!<<

Also; ofcourse every period in time developes its own style (different versions of the tradtional cliché).
>>>>does this make it any better . . he he he :oops: :) ???
Also; indeed mine are not from the Saribas and therefore have a different style.
Greets


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Greetings all.

Woulter asserts that he is not interested in “revival” Iban textile art ascribing “revival” pieces as those post 1900 because they have been influenced by western culture. Well, fair enough – no one is required to prefer or like the art of any particular person, people or period or for any particular aspect or reason. Non est disputandum. There are collectors who specialize only in textiles showing considerable wear.

But Woulter’s concern is legitimate and a service because “influences” and “revivals” are part of the proper discourse in the study, understanding and appreciation of art. I feel that pursuing these issues would further reinforce that these great weavings are in fact “real art” without need for quotes. Quote-free art I guess I would call it.

Of course distinctions can be made between “revival” and “influence” but they may not be the matter of importance here which seems to be mostly a concern for the purity of the old being debased by modern or foreign influences. This is an ancient concern in all art.

However, not in a spirit of argument but in clarification and furthering understanding, one should ask regarding the presumed outside influence:
How does it manifest itself?
What examples demonstrate it?
How widespread is it?
How was it perceived by the culture?
How far back can specific influences be traced?
Is the art any the worse or better for it?

[The last of course being an aesthetic matter.]

Any influence of commercial treads and dyes goes back at least to the late 1800’s. As Woulter noted, the remoter and therefore perhaps more conservative regions of the Iban cultures were less affected by commercial threads and dyes and presumably by other outside influences as well. Machine or handspun thread can usually be discerned by eye and hand. Native or commercial dye is another matter. To many collectors, or simply appreciators, a textile of “threads handspun of native cotton and using only native dyes” are strong selling and appreciation points. To others, commercial treads with their uniform fineness made possible the sharply defined designs of Sendi and other masters and that characteristic doubtless made possible the creation of designs which could not otherwise be worked on coarser, irregular handspun threads.

On the other hand, there is hardly any argument that Iban/ibanic textiles of Sarawak and Kalimantan are clearly and strongly influenced by old Indian cloths with their format of a central field confined by end and side borders. This format is practically always seen in pua' and skirts of Sarawak and Kalimantan although there are examples of pua’ lacking side or top borders.

There are also clear evidences that the “dancing figures” and octofoil based geometric "medallion” motifs seen on some sungkit cloths of handspun and native dyes are derived from old Indian motifs as well.

I leave aside the commonly read statement that Iban/Ibanic weaving motifs show the influence of iconography on bronze drums of the ancient Dongson culture of Vietnam. I examined such drums as I could locate in museums in Boston and New York but failed to see the bases for such statements.

Art in some sense is a history of influences. Whether they debase or advance is a topic of taste and discussion among connoisseurs and to me a healthy interest. As a personal matter, I would prefer to see an increased emphasis on the artistic as contrasted with the anthropoligical aspects of these weavings.

What say others?

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John


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:45 am 
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Just one very necessary add;
I know how these ikat pua's are made and that process of dying each and EVERY INDIVIDUAL thread with a quite intricate overall pattern before "ASSEMBLING" the cloth (with the vertical threads) is an absolute WOMEN-MADE-WONDER!

And I find it an even bigger wonder that in recent modern times these coths -for which one clearly needs an enormous amount of skill, patience and persevearance- are still being made.

That said- thank you


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:17 pm 
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Actually threads are tied in bundles. The smallest in width, i.e., across the warp, is commonly 6 threads (I am not including pua of beginners)although I have found 4 in some pua. And a bundle actually consists of those formng its "width" (say 6) but of a "depth" formed from the upper and lower warp layer formed in "warping up" and then multiplied by the number of folds to form the repeats, such as the common three. This makes a bundle of 6x2x3 = 36 threads, usw.

But it is still a marvel of skill because some of the shortest bundles I have observed on a very fine handspun and natural dye pua measure about 0.1 inch for the "rice grains". Strong fingers and sharp eyes are essential. And the binding material was most likely a very thin strip of plant fiber waxed with beeswax. Amazing no matter how you look at it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:59 pm 
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I agree entirely with John's insightful and informative comments.
In explaining the ikat technique, perhaps it should also be pointed out that the field of Pusaka's textile is an eight-fold repeat: four mirrored panels. Thus the bindling of threads can include more than just those of one half panel.
This eight-fold aspect is perhaps not so immediately evident, since in some portions - at the top, if I remember correctly - it appears that there are three mirrored panels, but also two half panels at the sides = eight.
At the bottom, 15 and two half motifs.
But the pattern sure is intricate!
The 0.1 inch bindings that John mentions, probably could not include many threads, perhaps bound in smaller bundles.

I also agree with his earlier comment about revival, influence, commercial threads. Older, handspun does not have to be artistically "better" or represent finer craftsman- (woman!) ship.

In the field that I know better, rugs, there is a tendency to assume that finer structure and design get sloppier in later work, that the finer must be the older, ignoring that the finest has to be preceded by something, evolved, cannot have occurred spontaneously.

Regard. Larry


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Hi Larry –

It’s always refreshing to find others who are also devoted to these weavings.

There may be other interpretations of the technique but I think the common one would consider Pusaka’s pua' to be a fourfold design in as much as the main field pattern across one half width of the entire pua' is repeated four times as can be discerned by locating the three longitudinal reflection lines across which the pattern is successively mirrored. The two halves are the upper and lower warp layers of the original continuous skein of threads wrapped around the separated bars that determine the length. These two warps are always treated as one in subsequent tying and dyeing so they are always perfect mirror images of each other. Each thread of the upper warp has its mate in the lower warp and this matching as well as the sequential order of the threads in a warp must be perfectly preserved throughout the removal of the skein onto the tying frame, the foldings, the several sequences of bindings and dyeings and final reinstallation onto the loom. So before removal from the original “winding” frame (which may be the loom itself) the threads are stabilized at each end of the continuous skein by various means to prevent later tangling and misalignments and facilitate the matching of the upper and lower threads and aiding in thread counting for the individual bindings. Once on the tying frame the skein is carefully folded accordion fashion (each “leaf” of which consists of the upper and lower warp) to form the desired number of repeats for the pattern. All this requires the most intense concentration and care throughout because any misalignment of the threads anywhere in this folded set will be very apparent in the final piece.

Perhaps the best pictorial description of the entire process can be found in, Datin Amar Margaret Linggi’s book. Ties that bind: Iban Ikat Weaving. The Tun Jugah Foundation and Borneo Research Council. 2001.

I was fortunate in being able to watch this process years ago at the Tun Jugah Gallery in Kuching and can attest that it is a most complicated and painstaking process and not totally obvious.

And yes Larry, the tiny rice grain is 6 threads wide as is the thin line indicated in the figure I post. And BTW, this is all handspun thread that can rival any commercial thread used. There are 10 rice grains head to tail within about 1 inch which is my basis for saying each tie was about 0.1 inch. Actually if you think about it, the tie was probably a bit longer because each white grain has a weft row passing above and below it but not over it at this point and noone could know in advance exactly where a weft row would fall during weaving. This had to be accounted for in laying out the bindings. More evidence of the amazing skill of this gifted weaver.

For what it is worth, I have made a little picture to explain the folding along the warp. Actually some pua also are folded in the middle to make a mirror image that way.


Attachments:
File comment: Detail of a pua commonly called buah Sepepat although others have arguments for a different name.
detail.jpg
detail.jpg [ 59.32 KiB | Viewed 12960 times ]
File comment: a schematic of the two warp layers being folded for a three fold repeat. Both warp layers (upper and lower) are being folded together.
folding small.jpg
folding small.jpg [ 30.76 KiB | Viewed 12961 times ]

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Last edited by john on Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:01 am 
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Wow, what a great verbal description and accompanying illustrations!
Thank you, John.

I hope others also enjoy and appreciate it - and the effort behind it all.

Regards, Larry


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Well said, Larry, especially your last comment. John, thank you very much for sharing so much with us and taking all the time and concentration which was required to get it all posted for us - no light matter! It is gems like that which make the forum so worthwhile.

Thank you!

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Dear all,

Looking at the design of the cloth posted by pusaka, I am reminded of one of the two Tree of Life designs composed by Nangku anak Dingat (Puan Sri Empiang Jabu's grandmother) in Ong's first book. However, I cannot say for certain that this is the Tree of Life design because the format of the design does not 'comply' with the strictures associated with the Tree of Life. Further, the presence of snake-like zig-zags suddenly lopping off the 'tree' boggles the mind. In short, I cannot be of much help in deciphering or explaining what this design is or means.

Pamela, as always, you are my staunch defender and I am forever grateful. I may come to London after all, seeing that the MA subject will be based on the British Museum As.3426. But of course, proper protocol must be followed and I will have to write to the BM to seek its permission first before anything is set in stone.

John, I believe you visited my restaurant a few months back. I am sorry you came at an inopportune time when I was down with fever and flu and was not able to meet up with you or contact you at the Hilton.

For the record, there was no 'revival' in the Saribas at the turn of the century as weaving continued right into the middle of the 20th century where it saw its zenith, as demonstrated by the textiles woven by my fore-mothers whom used very fine bought threads to further refine and develop various weaving techniques. Weaving only declined after the end of the 2nd World War with the advent of 'modernisation'. The Japanese Occupation which stalled trade during the war also contributed to the slowing down of weaving as bought threads became scarce. Women focussed on surviving the war and taking care of their families rather than weave for leisure and status. The British colonisation that followed placed an emphasis on education and many young Iban girls flocked to schools instead of staying in the attic to weave. By the 60s, one would have been hard pressed to find any woman weaving in the Saribas, although weavers still lived but had little inspiration or need to take up the loom. A 'new dawn' had come with Independence in 1963 and things of the past were put aside. The flourishing of Christianity in the Saribas also replaced Iban rituals and the attending need for ritual accoutrements, especially textiles.

All is not lost, though. There is now a 'revival', which began sluggishly in the 90s but is now gaining momentum as retired professional women from the Saribas take up the loom to continue the tradition of their fore-mothers, and weave for leisure and status.


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