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Ikat from Sarawak, Borneo, Indonesia
 

074 Borneo, Sarawak


Pua kumbumicroscope  magnifier



Origin: Borneo, Sarawak
Locale: Iban Dayak, most likely from the Krian, a tributary of the Saratok neighbouring the Saribas.
Period: Circa 1940
Yarn: Cotton, hand spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 133 x 243 cm (52.3 x 95.6)
Weight: 1280 g (45.2 oz), 396 g/m2 (1.30 oz/ft2)
Design: Pattern representing the great Gajah Meram, 'Broody Elephant', executed in saturated brick red, cream and light indigo. This powerful design is quite rare in the lexicography of Iban designs, but highly regarded. The Broody Elephant is a metaphor for any great warrior that the weaver wishes to pay homage to. His head is always exaggerated to indicate that he returned home valiant from battle with his head firmly secure on his body – in direct contrast to a decapitated head which is always shown as a tiny seed on a torso. Borders in pale yellow, red and black. To cite Ong (see below): 'The white and blue outline of the form gives it a glowing mystery that resembles a vision of an electrifying extra-terrestrial.'
Comment: Very large old pua of powerful design. Excellent weaving. The plain coloured border stripes were done in triple-ply commercial yarn, probably to match the thickness of the double-ply hand spun yarn used for the field. Heavy cloth with sturdy, protective feeling.
Background: For additional information see chapter on Borneo and/or Sarawak.
Compare: 001 038 075 123 140
Literature: Information on origin and motifs provided by Vernon Kedit. The type has confounded several authors. Traude Gavin in The Women's Warpath, shows two similar cloths and identifies the motifs as crocodile pattern, buah buaya. See plates 28 and 29. Fraser-Lu, Handwoven Textiles. p.146, identifies main motif as representing engkaron, lizards. Edric Ong, Iban architect and designer depicts a very similar though less detailed piece in his Pua, Iban Weavings of Serawak, Plate 20, and identifies the design as showing six remaung, leopards, with an interspersed bird motif repeating the leopard's curling tail. We rely on Vernon Kedit's identification (pers. comm.) as Gajah Meram.
  
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