Ceremonial Cloth (Pua)

Borneo (Sarawak)

Not on view

Ceremonial cloth (pua) decorated with potent and charged iconography are among the most precious textiles of the Iban (‘Sea Dayak’) tribes of northwest Borneo. Textiles decorated in this manner were used almost exclusively to wrap head trophies or skulls and to mark off sacred spaces and decorate altars on which these were placed as offerings and intermediaries for divine intervention. They could also be used to wrap or cover the deceased in funerary proceedings. Iban women are initiated into the art of dyeing and weaving the intricate ikat motifs by certain spirits. They begin as young girls, copying patterns and over time as they become more accomplished, create ritually powerful new designs.

Ceremonial Cloth (Pua), Cotton, Borneo (Sarawak)

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