Threads Of Life

Pua Kumbu from Kalimantan

Pua Kumbu

Sintang, Kalimantan

Pua kumbu are large blanket-sized textiles that are dyed red with Morinda citrifolia root bark. The mordanting process to achieve the red colour requires many different plants from the forest and is still performed with a ritual.

A pua kumbu is used during Gawai harvest ceremonies where it may be used as a decorative hanging or as the blanket upon which offerings are placed for the ancestors. A pua may also be used to cover a person who is ill during a healing by a traditional doctor.

Dayak textiles are highly regarded for their unique designs, many of which are from dreams during which ancestors give a weaver permission to weave a motif. The central motif on this textile is called bunga merinjan and refers to the flower of merinjan ironwood tree (Eusideroxylon zwageri). This wood is used in the construction of rumah betang longhouses because it is very strong, rot-proof, heat resistant, and can hold heavy loads.

Warp ikat, commercial cotton, two panels sewn together to make a blanket, twisted fringe, natural dyes.
Ikat, tied, dyed and woven in Sintang, Kalimantan, 2015.
214 x 110 cm / 84.5 x 43.5 in