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1841 Antique Iban Ceremonial Ikat / Blue / Trophy Skulls

Antique Iban Ceremonial Ikat Pua Kumbu

Among the Iban, textiles are treasured as they are more than just objects made of fibre.

In some cultures, such as the Iban, textiles have played a major, if not central role, in all the ceremonies surrounding the important events in life. Power structures among women are based on dyeing and weaving skills. Perhaps the most important materials owned by families were textiles.

Ikat textiles are among the hardest to make, as the tie-dye is done on the unwoven threads before they are woven into cloth. So with a design in the weaver's imagination, the thread is dyed in sections as per the pattern that is required to be created. This takes immense precision and calculation. So when we note that these textiles were made decades ago in the rainforests of Borneo & Sarawak, there is a sense of awe for the creators.

Size: 84 x 204 cm


  •  Sometimes I get carried away by the enormous amount of work and crafting skill that has gone into the making ... and this volume of work the craftsman took on, is a direct result of the artistic vision she planned for the artwork being made.
  • This is one such example.. with the oblique chains running criss cross across the textile making it a difficult work. Further, these are rendered in several colors - and each chain is composed of all the colors - red blue black and white!!
  • The major oblique lines have chains or rings running in between - with every alternate line in a different color white or blue and then the centre is either black or red!
  • The jagged hexagons might be trophy heads (needs to be reconfirmed) and are present in the field as well as on the Selakoh end
  • Very well developed Selakoh or ends - 3 rows of dancing women on the one end and other end has an elaborate abstract pattern with deliberately created jagged borders.
  • Human motifs all over.
  • Borders made of red black yellow and white bands. Edge borders  or Ara have ornaments in three colors - a remarkable feature


This item has spent a lifetime being used for the purpose of its creation with the original artist/user. Signs of this life lived heartily may be present on the piece in the form of stains, thread loss, loose threads, holes, tears, color run and other imperfections. Therefore the condition must be assumed to be “not” perfect. More photos of such imperfections will be provided on request.


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