“Fashion is always in time in which you live. It is not something standing alone.”- Coco Chanel
It means fashion evolves through time. Indeed Coco Chanel was a genius to say this and I believe it is true. ..
Throughout my quest of finding Indu Dara Insin Temaga, I came across with many opinions on how ngepan Indu Iban should be. There have also been discussions and stands on how a true ngepan should look like. To the traditionalists, they have strong views that the ngepan should look as how it was in the olden days and on the other hand, there were also views that ngepan Iban is fine with some modern touch here and there.
As I mentioned in my previous post since I am from the Saribas tribe so my focus was wearing a rawai tinggi, kain kebat complete with other silver regalia but in a minimalist way.
|Ngepan Indu Iban Saribas|
Throughout my search finding the right ngepan for me, I encounter many variations of ngepan through the different illustrations in the books be it old or new photos as well as through interpreting the literature composed by missionaries, for example from “The Sea-Dyaks of Borneo by The Reverend Edwin H. Gomes” –page 16:
“For the wedding and for subsequent visit which the bride pays to her husband’s relatives, she decks herself out in all the finery she possesses and can borrow from her friends. Her wedding dress consists of a short petticoat which reaches her knees (kain kebat); along the bottom edge of this there sewn several row of tinsel and of silver coins (tating kain), below which probably hang some hawk bells. Round her waist are several coils of brass chain (rawai) and, in addition, two or three belts made of dollars and other silver coins linked together(lampit). From her waist upwards as far as her armpits she wears a corset formed by threading upon a cone a great number of brass rings, arranged so closely together as to completely hide the cane (rawai tinggi). To this corset may be fixed two or three bands of silver coins. Her armlets of brass or silver extend as far up as her elbow (tumpa pirak). As many rings she possesses are on her fingers, and she wears necklaces of small beads, worked in very beautiful patterns and finished off with a tassel of beads, or else a large number of big silver buttons strung together round her neck (marek ubu). Her ears are furnished with studs of silver gilt, with a setting of scarlet cloth behind the filigree work to show them off. Her head is decorated with a towering comb of silver filigree work, to which attached a number of silver spangles (sugu tinggi), which glitter with every movement of her head. She wears her hair in a knot, into which are stuck a number of skewers decorated with beads and little tags of red, yellow and white cloth (cucuk sanggul). She does not wear her jacket, though she possesses one; it is slung over her right shoulder.”
|The Sea Dayak Bride|
During the competition too I can see there were many variations of ngepan Indu Iban where one division would differ to another. Therefore, from the observations thus far it wouldn't be wrong to say that the Iban community is a creative lot.
I love my ngepan Saribas, at first glance you might think that I would faint wearing the four kilogrammes (weighed it last night), chest high, rattan-brass corset (rawai tinggi) but no, as long as it fits well it will be fine.
To me, ngepan Indu Iban Saribas shows how simplicity can exude beauty of an Iban woman of that tribe and I’m glad to be part of it. I wish to know more on especially why Iban women in the olden days particularly the Saribas tribe wore rawai tinggi, is it because to support their backs while weaving the pua kumbu? Or is it for health reasons? Could it be as a symbol of status? Until now it is still a question mark in my head.
Today, we see ngepan Indu Iban with colourful beaded color (marek empang/tango) with dangling bright colored pom-poms, a modern version of petticoat/skirt (kain karap), pua kumbu shawl (selampai), head gear (sugu tinggi), a shorter version of rawai with rows of coins (sementing ringgit), another set of belt with dangling coins (sementing buchai), silver belt or two (lampit) and other accessories including a traditional spherical silver purse (buah pauh), anklets (gerunchung kaki) and a small white or red scarf (perca) or small pua kumbu (in Betong area). Please refer to the photos below:
|Description of the accessories|
There are also some rare accessories such as tali ai (a long beaded accessory with frog bells at the end which hangs from the back to the ankle, tali buri (a beaded accessory with frog bells which is worn around the waist. There is also an accessory called Kepuas or Bekuas (a black velvet collar that covers the chest), as for Kapit Iban, they are known for their kain Burek instead of pua kumbu skirt. Kain burek is a black skirt sewn beautifully with tiny white cowry shells.
|The black collar is Kepuas/Bekuas|
|The beaded belt with frog bells is burai lumit|
Different versions of burai lumit.....
I believe that ngepan Indu Iban:
- evolves through time;
- evolves according to practicality: e.g. selampai and marek empang/tango are used to cover the breasts or can you imagine dancing ngajat wearing a high corset?; and
- style is influenced geographically (differs from one division to another ).
To me there is no right or wrong style of ngepan Indu Iban, because of the reasons namely, evolution according to time, practicality, geographically perhaps creativity too plays a role in creating different styles of ngepan. Through my observation, the only wrong way wearing a ngepan would be wrong colour coordination of the ngepan as well as using too much accessories that is way overboard just like an overloaded Christmas tree.
Before I end this post I would like to thank Ms. Jacqueline Selaka Mawar for allowing me to use some of her photos in her blog which describes the different accessories of ngepan Indu Iban. Below are the many styles that I have come across for your reference:
|This is how my Saratok family would wear selampai if we don't have many accessories to make a complete ngepan|
|notice the pua kumbu perca? She's from Betong|
|The same girl with different style at different event|
|People say this one is the Bintulu version|
|Wedding dress of a Kapit bride|
|With selampai (shawl) but without marek empang/tango|
|Selampai both crossing the front and the back|
|Another Bintulu style (notice the corset is different?)|
|Ms. Elizabeth Lenna with 2 lampit crossing the chest|
|Kumang Miri 2011|
|This is the same kumang as the above photo 3rd from left|
|the significant Bintulu corset|
|Another reason for practicality is you can at least dance with this style|
There you have it, I would update more photos if I have more. I let you to analyze yourself whether you would agree with me that wrong colour coordination as well as putting on everything that you have can possibly make the ngepan look like an overloaded Christmas tree..don't be a fashion victim!