Logo Pusaka Collection
spacer ONLINE MUSEUM OF INDONESIAN IKAT TEXTILES   CURATOR: PETER TEN HOOPEN  BROWSE FROM:  [RANDOM] [001] [025] [050] [075] [100] [125] [150] [175] [200] [225] [250] [275] [290]




  • 001 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1950. Iban people, probably from the Baleh river, a tributary of the Batang Rajang.
  • 032 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1925-1945. Saribas region.
  • 033 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1880 to early 20th c. Saribas, most likely.
  • 034 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1925-1950. Serawak, Iban Dayak (Saribas or Batang Baleh area?).
  • 035 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1940. Saribas, Iban people.
  • 036 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1930-1945. Dayak, Saribas Iban.
  • 037 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1920-1930. Iban Dayak. Simanggang, old 2nd Division.
  • 038 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1880-1920. Iban Dayak, Ngemah-Bangkit Rivers, Baleh, 7th (old 3rd) Division.
  • 039 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1940-1950. Iban Dayak, Second Division.
  • 040 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1940. Layar (probably), a tributary of the Saribas.
  • 041 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1920. Iban Dayak, Second Division, probably Batang Lupar River.
  • 074 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. Circa 1940. Iban Dayak, most likely from the Krian, a tributary of the Saratok neighbouring the Saribas.
  • 075 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1935-1950. Iban Dayak people, probably from the Batang Ai. .
  • 123 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1920-1940. Probably Batang Ai or Baleh river system.
  • 140 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1950. Baleh river system, Iban people. .
  • 202 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Weft ikat. 1940-1950 (?). Katibas river and its tributaries, Sarawak's old 7th division.
    Kain kebat (skirt cloth). Warp ikat. Late 19th - early 20th c. Ketungau river people.
  • 220 SARAWAK
    Kain kebat (skirt). Warp ikat. Early 20th c. Baleh river area.
  • 223 SARAWAK
    Pua kumbu. Warp ikat. 1920s. Baleh river or one of its tributaries, possibly the Rajang river before it branches to the Baleh.
    Kain kebat (skirt cloth). Warp ikat. Early 20th c. Kantu (Kantuk).
    Kain kebat (skirt). Warp ikat. Late 19th to early 20th c. Mualang.
    Kain kebat (skirt cloth). Warp ikat. 19th to early 20th c. Ketungau river people, West Kalimantan.
  • 243 SARAWAK
    Kain kebat (skirt cloth). Warp ikat. 1920 of before. Baleh river or tributary, 3rd Division.

Main article temporarily inaccessible

The links above give access to detailed descriptions of all the cloths from this island or region in the collection. The full article on the historical and cultural background of this island or region is temporarily inaccessible. As dissemination of information on Indonesian ikat is one of our primary aims, you can be assured that full public access will be restored as soon as feasible. Should you wish to access the deaccessioned information for scholarly purposes, please contact us through the contact page.



The Women's Warpath - and other durable classics

Several field researchers have spent a great deal of time and energy to make an inventory of Iban Dayak textile patterns. Some of them bitterly attack each other's findings, with an acrimony and vehemence well suited to headhunting. Whoever one wants to credit, it is clear that there will always exist some level of ambiguity, both on account of the secrecy in which part of the subject matter is wrapped, and on account of the unreliability of the primary sources, the Iban themselves, who are certainly not above misinforming foreign students of their culture, if only because most aspects of their weaving are secret and surrounded by taboos. Having said this, we are still left with a few works that may be expected to become (perhaps flawed) classics in the field.
       For anyone wanting to come to grips with the social role of the textiles of Borneo, Traude Gavin's classic The Women's Warpath is an invaluable resource. It explains the central role of ikat weaving in Iban Dayak culture, as a parallel to the men's headhunting - prowess on the battlefield versus prowess at the loom. Critics, specifically Michael Heppell, allege that Gavin was led to misunderstand the symbolism of the designs, and even their importance, which has caused her to state that the decorative aspect is predominant, not the cultural and magical aspect - which Iban sources like Datin Amar Margaret Linggi, Vernon Kedit Jolly, and other experts such as John Kreifeldt contradict. In Iban or Sea Dayak Fabrics and their Patterns, Chaddon and Start argue that even the tiniest curl, rhomboid or swirl carries a meaning that is immediately understood by the local people, which is why these cloths can be read almost like a story, and are emblematic of the weaver's level of culture. Still, the parallellism between weaving and headhunting that Gavin pointed out is an insight of lasting value.
      As for getting a visual impression of the Dayak's daily life, Among the Dayaks is unbeatable. Poh Chiang Lim's intimate pictorial account of life as it once was in the jungles of Sarawak is a unique document not just for its recording of history, but also because of its gentle, seemingly unintrusive photography. Now, as both the jungle and it's indigenous peoples are fast disappearing, these stunning black and white photographs taken in the 1950s and '60s reveal with great poignancy a way of life that is all but gone.

Online sources of information on Iban culture

There are several fine sources of information on the internet about the Iban and their culture. Some of the most interesting are found on a blog by Gregory Nyanggau Mawar, published under the GNU licence, the most import of which - his article on Iban adat - we republish here with great thanks for the author's courteous permission. The reason we republish instead of just providing a link, is to help preserve this material. Blogs have a tendency to come and go, and while there is no guarantee that this site will outlive its author. At least there now is another source out there, again to be freely copied or republished as long as the GNU licence is respected and the author credited. Please do visit the original blog, which has much more material on the Iban and their culture beyond the two articles linked to below:
  • The origin of Iban Adat, described the Iban's mythical past and the social setting of their traditions.
  • The Asun rebellion, the historical developments leading up to it, the river systems, and Iban character as it was shaped by the environment.
  • The Early Iban Way of Life, which describes traditional Iban life from the cradle to the grave in great, and often beautiful detail.

Map of Borneo

map Borneo

©Peter ten Hoopen, 2018. All rights reserved.