CSEAS Seminar Series: “Textiles of the Outer Islands – An Evolutionary History through a West Kalimantan Prism”

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 05/09/2013
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Gallery Building 55 Clayton Campus


Speaker: Michael Heppell

Meeting Room, Building 55, Gallery Building, Monash University Clayton Campus


The purpose of the talk is to present a cogent argument to answer the question “how come weaving” or why did women throughout the world weave or decorate textiles? A clue to an answer probably lies in the frequent use of decorated textiles as wedding gifts, particularly in the outer islands of Indonesia. That suggests that textiles might have had something to do with sexual selection. If that is so, textiles indicated something about the genetic material of at least one of the marriage partners. The presentation explores the question through the prism of the Ibanic peoples of West Kalimantan, tracing the development of their textiles over the last 1500 years or so. The presentation consequently focuses on the competitive nature of women and how men encouraged it -at least of the Ibanic.

About the speaker:

Michael Heppell has done fieldwork with three Dayak groups living across the borders between West Kalimantan and Sarawak. His principal interest was in the relationship between the upbringing of children and the operation of adat. Later he became interested in the material culture of Borneo, which led to an interest in textiles. He has had published a number of books and papers on Aborigines in the 1970s and on Borneo since that date, including Borneo and Beyond, Masks of Kalimantan and Iban Art. He is an adjunct fellow at Monash. Japanese Studies Centre Seminar