Threads Of Life

Kalimantan Island

Pua Kumbu

A pua kumbu is made from two panels of ikat cloth that are sewn together into a larger blanket called pua. It is used as a decorative hanging during harvest ceremonies among the Dayak of Kalimantan called Gawai, where it may be hung or used as the blanket upon which offerings are placed for the ancestor. Kumbu refers to the red color of the textile derived from the bark of the root of Morinda citrifolia tree. The mordant process used to achieve the red dye is complex as it requires many different plants from the forest and must be performed with a ritual.

A pua may also be used to cover a person who is ill during a healing with a traditional doctor. The Dayak textiles have always been highly regarded for their unique designs woven from dreams.


Bidang is an single panel ikat woven textile made by the Dayak Desa women in the Sintang area of West Kalimantan. A bidang is a single panel textile that is then opened and sewn into a tubular skirt it can also be left as an open single textile used for ceremonies upon which offerings are placed or it may wrap an offering.


Tating is the traditional tubular skirt but with embellishments of bells, beads and shells. It is worn by the Dayak Desa women of West Kalimantan for special ceremonies such as the ritual bathing of a newborn child in the river to introduce the child to the spirit of the river, a tooth filing ceremony, ritual rice pounding or a marriage ceremony. Tating refers to the sound of the decorative bells sewn onto the edge of the textile. The motifs are important ceremonial symbols relating to the ritual role that the women are expected to perform.

Cilai Gantung

Cilai gantung is a breast wrap worn for ceremonies by the Dayak Desa women in West Kalimantan.

Biduk Sungkit

Biduk sungkit is made using a supplementary warp wrap patterning and is made by the Dayak Kantuk and worn as a skirt. This skirt is worn for ceremonies such as weddings, tooth filings and the first bathing of a child to introduce the spirit of the river to the newborn. In the past a woman had to be able to weave a textile such as to be considered marriageable.



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