The uses of pua kumbu are numerous and are of great significance in the traditional life of the Iban. They are used in ceremonies: birth, marriage, funeral and healing, as well as in farming rituals. As soon as the child is cleaned after being delivered, he or she is laid upon a pua kumbu. During the first ceremonial bath in the river, the baby is wrapped and covered with the pua kumbu and taken to the river. During the wedding ceremony, pua kumbu are used to adorn the room where the marriage ceremony is held; the couple are seated on a gong under a pua kumbu canopy to receive blessing from the elderly folk. Pua kumbu also forms part of the dowry. When a relative dies, pua kumbu are hung up as curtains to shelter the body of the dead relative. Pua kumbu are also used to veil structures (pandong) containing charms and offering in farming rituals. In the olden days, pua kumbu were used to receive heads from a party returning from a successful war expedition.
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An exotic textile is the Iban pua, often referred to as a blanket but more appropriately simply called a cloth. Technically excellent in comparison to any ikat weaving of other cultures, powerful in its allegorical symbol, the warp-ikat pua kumbu is an outstanding material culture of Sarawak.
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