We’d all known that the Headhunter bravery (head count) and the numbers of tattoos (design) place them in a higher rank of their society.
But, do you know how to determine the social status of Iban’s women? – A Head Hunter for man, and a Weaver for woman. Great combination isn’t it? Indeed!
Iban weaver’s competence and skills place her in her community. I will explain and elaborate the meaning behind the title of Iban’s women according to their rank in the community.
1. Indu Takar Indu Nyar
A competent women, and a women who know how to mix and to use the vegetable dyes successfully – For Pua Kumbu.
The whole dye-process is called ‘KAYAU INDU’ or Warpath Of The Women; thereby stressing the important that weaving and dyeing is for women in the Iban Society – Just as Headhunting is for men!
Only those who ranked Indu Takar Indu Nyar will involve in the process of ‘Nyangkah Antu Pala’ ritual – Welcoming home the Headhunter’s
2. Indu Nengkebang Indu Muntang
A women who produce her own design (Many believes that the idea of the design came from the God/Spirit who spoke to them through dream – Kenyap/Mimpi)
She has tattoos on her fingers and wear a porcupine quil with cotton strand.
For the omen design of pua kumbu which portray a design of ghost/spirit (Antu Gerasi) for example can only started by these group of lady, before the rest complete them. This is done as a precaution to overcome the bad luck (Alah Bulu).
3. Indu Sekat Indu Bebat
A skillful weaver, but they’re not producing their own design, and not allowed to weave certain omen design as I mention above.
4. Indu Temuai Indu Lawai
Some called them Indu Asi Indu Ai – a good hostess homemaker.
5. Indu Paku Indu Tubu
An ordinary housewife
The women who falls into the top 3 categories and her status is accordance to her in the “Adat Mati” or obituary according to the “Adat Tusun Tunggu”. The “Adat Tebalu” given to the husband of a weaver is also higher than that given to the husbans of an ordinary Iban women.