Iban Pua Kumbu IS an Outstanding material culture of the Iban Community of Sarawak.

Iban Pua Kumbu is a hand woven wrap ikat textile of the Iban Community in Sarawak…East Malaysia. It Is considered to be a sacred object….of numerous uses and great significance in the traditional life of the Iban Community.

Pua Kumbu

The Pua Kumbu is made from homespun cotton and dyed using natural dyes namely roots of morinda citrifolia and tarum leaves. The motif on the pua kumbu is produced using the resist technique called ikat.

This complex motifs or designs are normally inspired by dreams… nature as well as the Iban beliefs and values.

Human Figure Motive Pua Kumbu

The Art of Pua Kumbu weaving.

There were no written instruction or manual for the making of Pua Kumbu in the Iban Community. The technique and the process was passed down by the weaver by oral narration and hand-on practise.

The traditional hand woven pua kumpu are make from locally grown cotton plant called taya (Gossypium sp)…which could be found locally around the longhouse.

The cotton that have been picked…with the pericarp being removed are left in the sun to dry for a few days. Once the raw cotton have been thoroughly dry…it is then put through a gin(pemigi) to separate the seeds from the fibres.

After ginning…the cotton are threshed out with cotton-beater(pimalu taya) to form a flat mass ready for spinning.

The fibre are then spun on a simple wheel called gasing…while the right hand turned the wheel… the left hand twisted the fibre. The rotation of the spindle supplied the necessary twist to drawn out the fibre. The process is intermittent since each length of yarn have to be wound onto the spindle before another length is spun.

Once the spindle is full of threads … it is wound off into a ball or onto a separate piece of wood in preparation for dyeing. The Iban community make creative use of the different botanical resources available in their environment to produce a wide range of rich beautiful dyes which create shades of colour desires by the dryers.

The three basic ingredients used are Engkudu(Morinda CitrifoliaEngkerbai(Psychotria Virdiflora) and Tatum(Marsdenia Tinctoria, Indigofera) are mixed with various types of roots…bark and leaves to produce and create the desired shades of colour.

Each dyers have their own secret dyes ingredients to create their own distinctive colour.

Once the dyes ingredients are mixed and the desired colour are achieved … the yarn are dipped into the mixture…trodden upon…turned 3 times and then left to soaking for three days. During that period…the yarn are checked from time to time to ensure that they are well saturated. Many sessions are required depending on the number of colors used.

After soaking for three days…the yarn are taken out and washed thoroughly in clear water and stretched out to dry for twelve hours…after that the yarn are hung on upright frame during the day and night for sixteen days to dry. Great care is taken to ensure that the yarn gets the right amount of sun and that it does not get wet from the rain.

Once the yarn are completely dry…the next process is to prepared the tying process. The yarn is unwound and stretched on the weaving loom to ascertain the length of pua to be woven.

Pua Kumbu Loom

Iban Pua are unique as the design are created from a vast repertoire of individual motifs whose meanings are combined to produce patterns and stories of ritual and spiritual power.

Pua Kumbu Weaving

Usage of Pua Kumpu in the Iban Community.

Pua Kumpu play a significance role in the Iban Community…they are being used in various stages in the community traditional lifestyle. During Child birth….marriage…funeral…healing and also in the farming rituals.

Where To Buy Original Iban Pua Kumbu.

The Pua Kumbu is sold in many of the Sarawak Handicraft and curios shop in the major town of Sarawak. There are also machine made version.

They are available at many of the handicraft and curious shop and weekend market through Sarawak. In Kuching you can find these shop along the Main Bazaar…Kuching International Airport and also at Padungan Road. They are also available at some of the major Shopping Mall in Sarawak major town City…like Sibu…Miri and Bintulu.

There are shop selling Sarawak Handicraft and also authentic Sarawak products at the Airport in Sarawak major towns.

You can also buy Iban Pua Kumbu at Sarawak Handicraft Centre in Miri, Sibu and also Kuching.

You can also Contact Us with your enquiry for more details about Iban Pua Kumbu.

Iban Pua Kumbu has stood steadfastly in the face of modernization proudly holding on to patterns of the past, at the same time adapting to modern changes in its usage and styles.

Click on Iban Pua Kumbu to Sarawak Woven Handicrafts.