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Get to know the popular Borneo textile, the Pua Kumbu

Pua Kumbu is a traditional cotton cloth admired for its patterned multicolour design and handwoven by the Iban people. The Iban wear this proudly for ceremonial functions. The technique into creating this textile is by combining ikat dyeing and backstrap loom weaving. The product would show unique motifs on the fabric and dyes that represent the story of Borneo.
Mordant dyeing is considered a ritual as it conveys moral and spiritual teachings on the finished textile. The creation of handwoven textile has been made by the women of Iban for many generations and considered as the most cherished cultural practice.
If you get a chance to visit the Iban longhouse, you may catch a glimpse of the Pua Kumbu being set on the extended wall.
The Pua Kumbu are also made into ceremonial garments worn during Iban rituals.
To see more heritage Pua Kumbu collections, you may visit the Sarawak Textile Museum or the Tun Jugah Foundation’s private collections, as they have a variety of textile being displayed. Tun Jugah provide studio spaces for students and artisans to learn and practice the art of Pua Kumbu weaving.