Ceremonial cloth (pua) with Jugah's jawbone (rang Jugah)

Iban peoples
Probably late 19th century
more object details

General Description

The enigmatic design of this cloth is known as rang Jugah, or "Jugah's jawbone." While no weaver still remembers who Jugah was, the jawbone design is known to symbolize a severed trophy head taken in battle. To the weaver, it is one of the most terrifying designs she could attempt to weave.

Symbolic imagery surrounds the central jawbone design. The back-to-back C-shape on the upper band is called the "Sleeping Cat." Warmed by the heat, cats gathered in the part of a longhouse where trophy heads were being smoked. The rows of opposing zigzag lines near the bottom of the cloth represent the trail left by two pythons. Along the top and bottom edges, the "Drunken Decapitated Corpse" represents the victim's wobbly gait during his decapitation. Finally, at either side of the central design are omen birds, which calm the spirits with their singing.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2016.

Web Resources

  • Wikipedia
    Learn more about the Iban people.