ITEM 16072

Ceremonial cloth, Pua kumbu

Borneo, Iban people
19th early 20th century
Cotton; warp ikat
80 x 35 in / 203 x 89 cm

This pua kumbu is an outstanding example of its kind, with rich dye colour and fine line ikat discipline and features a unique pattern. It has been recorded that novel motifs on pua kumbu come to the weaver in a dream. A major question remains unresolved in the world of Iban studies, as to whether the complex curvilinear designs are representative of spirits so powerful and dangerous that they can only be depicted greatly abstracted lest the weaver be killed in the process of creating the cloth or are the patterns merely decorative?

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