Exhibition: Woven Power – Ritual Textiles of Sarawak and West Kalimantan


College of the Holy Cross - Woven Power

Exhibition dates: 31 August – 14 December 2016

Pua kumbu are magnificent, intricately dyed, hand-loomed cotton ikat textiles once woven as religious objects par excellence by the Iban and the related Dayak peoples who produced them in Southeast Asia. They were said to be full of powerful spirits and designed to be extraordinarily beautiful to attract the attention of the gods and invite them to draw near to human ceremonies. Over decades, emeritus Tufts University engineering professor John Kreifeldt amassed a comprehensive collection of pua kumbu, sungkit wraps and kain kebat skirts from Sarawak and West Kalimantan, with examples from the 1800s to 1940. Kreifeldt is the primary lender and a collaborator on this exhibition at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; other than a few textiles, most have never been displayed before in any museum.

Fieldwork anthropological essays by curator Susan Rodgers will accompany the exhibition. ‘Woven Power’ is Rodgers’ fifth exhibition of Southeast Asian textiles at Cantor Art Gallery.

For more information, visit the website of the College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts, USA.