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 Post subject: Re: hooked on Borneo
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:27 pm 
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Location: east coast
Susan - They are beautiful aren't they. They are Mualang which among other features have those characteristic borders. Pamela's comparison of three of them is a definite help. Thanks Pamela.

The Mualang live in the river areas near the Kantu' and Ketunggau around the Kapuas river in West Kalimantan below the border from Sarawak. I believe they are "Ibanic" peoples as well. Don't know that much about them and don't know anyone who does. Each tribe had its distinctive style which it adhered to as a proud matter of identity.

Someone should start quickly to study that region for its textiles before the old folks and the pieces are all gone.

I am posting some pictures of a rare sungkit I just got. It has the famous "dancing figures" at the top but here in the round. Traude Gavin claims that we only see them as humanoid shapes because we have a psychological bias towards that .. or something. Others, me included, definitely see figures. How about you? The big figures at the top are probably originally from India but you may know more about that.

Anyway - I've also posted some detailed pictures as close as I can get with my 6 meg digital camera and then cropping the two sides as closely as possible for comparison. You can notice that the "good" side has the supplementary threads almost horizontal which the obverse side shows them slanting a bit to catch the weft above or below.

It is my understanding that they used a needle something like the one also posted to help with this. I think there is description in Haddon and Start which I'll look up tonight. I'm not sure if a weft thread was introduced and the supplementary threads wound around it or if they were all woven then later pushed apart a bit to allow the supplementary threads to be inserted. Again perhaps you know? The fact that they are not tight like a good ikat suggests that they were pushed apart later?

The sungkits were very powerful to the Iban and these pieces are quite old. The sungkits figured prominently in the head hunting rituals. Heads were carried in procession in some of them. This one is very, very thin with considerable native repair. The early collectors mostly saw the ikats and did not know about the sungkits because they were hidden by the iban until later. Needless to say, these are not made anymore. I also understand that they mainly came from the Ulu Ai area of Sarawak. Interesting to me is that they are not necessarily finely nor regularly spun as though that was not important.

Viewing them you can sense their "power".


Keep on postin'

-John

susan stem wrote:
John- These are really beautiful examples of the sungkit technique and of different designs than often seen. Would you elaborate on their source and the way they're made? My understanding is that 'sungkit' is made with a needle- similar to 'tin chok' in Thailand, where a porcupine quill, or other sharp implement is used to insert discontinuous weft threads into the warps to form a design. Is that the case with these? A look at the back could be interesting perhaps.

Also, I found another Iban skirt with similar 'hook' motifs as Pamela's, but not in the lattice pattern of John's: in Gittinger's Splendid Symbols, p.212. It appears to possibly be sungkit also.

This 'thread' is a real feast for the eyes!


Attachments:
File comment: Dayak needle of the type used for sungkit work.
sungkit needle.jpg
sungkit needle.jpg [ 37.01 KiB | Viewed 7460 times ]
File comment: Iban "Dancing Figures" sungkit.
dancing figures.jpg
dancing figures.jpg [ 62.88 KiB | Viewed 7460 times ]
File comment: detail of the "good" side of sungkit. The supplementary threads are horizontal.
detail 2.jpg
detail 2.jpg [ 66.37 KiB | Viewed 7460 times ]
File comment: detail of "reverse" side of sungkit. Note how the supplementary threads slant.
detail 3.jpg
detail 3.jpg [ 64.1 KiB | Viewed 7460 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:37 pm 
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Pamela - thanks so much for that comparison. I love looking at them and it is definitely an aid.

I see them as "theme and variations". Or perhaps they are all variations without a theme.

Thanks again for your work on that.

Great forum!



Pamela wrote:
You folk are very good at comparing designs in photos spread over two pages of the forum, turning the designs from vertical to horizontal, keeping that in your mind and then comparing to photos in books. Well, I am NOT good at any of that!

For the simple folk please see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... arison.htm where I have taken the photos of the 3 skirts posted and displayed them one above the other, horizontally as they would be worn, so that they can then be compared against the photos in the literature. I hope that this makes things a bit easier - for me if for no one else! I have tried to list all the literature references made so far as well as 2 sources for the photos of Iban women with heads which John referred to (thanks to Susan Stem).

I am reasonably happy about the design similarities between my skirt and the first one that John posted but not so confident about the third. As to the ones being worn in the literature as suggested by John and Susan........(but it is fun!!)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:48 pm 
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John

Fascinating textile and what a super sungkit lesson! Yet I feel frustrated as I want to know exactly how to do it! I love the 'needle'.

I have gone back to look at my jacket http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=166 which, on the basis of your lesson, has sungkit. It also has a sort of slit weave yet using similar 'stitches'. (What lurid chemical colours next to your mellow, natural dyes!)

Part of me is sure the additional weaving was done at the time and yet......Oh, so frustrating!!


Attachments:
File comment: detail of jacket showing both sungkit and the slit weave below
sungkit1_.jpg
sungkit1_.jpg [ 49.81 KiB | Viewed 7444 times ]
File comment: sungkit and slit weave on jacket showing the 'slits'
sungkit2_.jpg
sungkit2_.jpg [ 58.72 KiB | Viewed 7444 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:48 pm 
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Posts: 175
Location: east coast
Pamela-

Well - at least I know what your thumb looks like in case we ever meet.

I see the slit stitch on a number of Iban jacket "badges" and have posted a closeup from one of mine. I just cropped an old picture of the back so did not re-photo it as you did to show the slit. I'll try to remember to do that tonight in case. I'll include my thumb for possible future mutual recognition purposes. You can sort of make out where the slits are by the discontinuity in the pattern as you go across the row.

I believe I recall some discussion of the slit stitch in Haddon and Start. That also I'll try to look up tonight.


Pamela wrote:
John

Fascinating textile and what a super sungkit lesson! Yet I feel frustrated as I want to know exactly how to do it! I love the 'needle'.

I have gone back to look at my jacket http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=166 which, on the basis of your lesson, has sungkit. It also has a sort of slit weave yet using similar 'stitches'. (What lurid chemical colours next to your mellow, natural dyes!)

Part of me is sure the additional weaving was done at the time and yet......Oh, so frustrating!!


Attachments:
File comment: Badge portion of the back of an Iban jacket. Vertical slit stitch used and may be visible at the discontinuities along the row.
back.jpg
back.jpg [ 53.07 KiB | Viewed 7433 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 3:39 am 
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Pamela and John- Many thanks for the sungkit lesson. The Iban weavers are indeed very skilled, as there are no loose threads- all is clean and neat. The presence of tapestry weave is interesting- I don't recall seeing it in any other Indonesian textiles except the Atoni warrior pieces from Timor.

Re the dancing figures in John's old sungkit: they are quite apparent and surprisingly, (or maybe not), part of a design vocabulary also found in Li wedding skirts from Hainan, as shown below. The photo is from a brochure from the Hainan Provincial Museum of Nationalities. The Li figures are done in embroidery.


Attachments:
File comment: Dancing figures from a Li wedding tubeskirt
mail-hainan-mus.jpg
mail-hainan-mus.jpg [ 53.35 KiB | Viewed 7423 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 3:40 pm 
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Location: east coast
I first became aware of the tapestry slit stitch weave on some Kilims I have on my floors. It surprised me also to see that stitch much later on Iban jackets. I suppose it might be a natural variation of sungkit work?

Do the other cultures that use the slit stitch also have a "sungkit" style?


susan stem wrote:
Pamela and John- Many thanks for the sungkit lesson. The Iban weavers are indeed very skilled, as there are no loose threads- all is clean and neat. The presence of tapestry weave is interesting- I don't recall seeing it in any other Indonesian textiles except the Atoni warrior pieces from Timor.

Re the dancing figures in John's old sungkit: they are quite apparent and surprisingly, (or maybe not), part of a design vocabulary also found in Li wedding skirts from Hainan, as shown below. The photo is from a brochure from the Hainan Provincial Museum of Nationalities. The Li figures are done in embroidery.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 6:43 pm 
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I am posting an example of the pilih weaving technique from Borneo. The piece is a skirt (bidang, or kain kebat) from the Mualang people of West Kalimantan.

Unlike the sungkit technique which is almost identical on both sides as I posted before, the pilih technique has the threads sort of floating and on the other side produces a kind of negative of the "good" side. But sometimes depending on the design, the "other side" is almost as interesting, just color reversed.

I am also posting closeups of the "good" and "reverse" sides for those who wish to see how it is done.

The Mualang people are quite interesting with a very discernable design in their ikats. But ikat, sungkit, pilih, they usuall have those distinctive borders.


Attachments:
File comment: pilih technique skirt from the Mualang people of West Kalimantan.
pilih skirt.jpg
pilih skirt.jpg [ 76.53 KiB | Viewed 7389 times ]
File comment: A close-up of the face side of the skirt.
pilih face.jpg
pilih face.jpg [ 71.28 KiB | Viewed 7389 times ]
File comment: reverse side of the skirt. You can note how the design appears to be the inverse or reverse of the color design.
pilih reverse.jpg
pilih reverse.jpg [ 67.4 KiB | Viewed 7389 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 6:52 pm 
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I had mentioned that I would post an example of the same "slit stitch" as found on Iban jacket backs on what is called the "badge".

This is the example to complement Pamela's posting.


Pamela wrote:
John

Fascinating textile and what a super sungkit lesson! Yet I feel frustrated as I want to know exactly how to do it! I love the 'needle'.

I have gone back to look at my jacket http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=166 which, on the basis of your lesson, has sungkit. It also has a sort of slit weave yet using similar 'stitches'. (What lurid chemical colours next to your mellow, natural dyes!)

Part of me is sure the additional weaving was done at the time and yet......Oh, so frustrating!!


Attachments:
File comment: The slit stitch example from the "badge" section of the Iban jacket as I posted earlier.
slit stitch jacket.jpg
slit stitch jacket.jpg [ 56.31 KiB | Viewed 7383 times ]

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