Who are they and what do they do
The Tun Jugah Foundation (Yayasan Tun Jugah) is a charitable organization founded in 1985. The foundation was named in honor of Tun Jugah Anak Barieng (1903-1981) who was an Iban Chief and one of Sarawak’s founding fathers.
The Foundation has five divisions namely Oral History and Oral Literature, Textiles, Library and Archives, Publication and a Museum and Gallery.
The Tun Jugah Museum and Gallery opened in Kuching in 2000 through the efforts of Datin Amar Margaret Linggi. The objectives of the Museum and Gallery are:
- To preserve and promote the traditional weaving of Iban textiles for the benefit of the community and the general public;
- To provide a greater understanding of Iban textiles and weaving tradition;
- To show the rich material culture of the Iban People.
The Tun Jugah Museum in Kuching comprises five main galleries: the Datin Amar Margaret Linggi Memorial Gallery, renamed in 2007 in honour of her memory and her contribution to the community ; The Display Gallery, the Weaving Gallery, the Tun Jugah Memorial and the Museum.
The Tun Jugah foundation also manages Fort Sylvia and its museum in Kapit, a historical monument founded in 1880 by Charles Brookes (the first White Rajah of Sarawak).
What a traveller can experience
- Enjoy the permanent exhibition at the Museum and Gallery. It displays a collection of more than five hundred pieces of beautiful Pua (Iban ikat), as well as other woven Iban textiles, costumes and accessories. Some weaving looms, tools and raw materials are also on display as well as detailed information on the weaving process.
- Meet the weavers, observe their skills and the weaving process in the workshop. The area is organized like a « ruai », the shared terrace of the Iban longhouse, where the women weave and chat together. Feel free to ask questions and share your interest in their art with them.
- Learn the art of ikat and produce your own piece by joining one of the weaving classes supervised by skilled and experienced weaving instructors. The classes are open to anybody who is interested. The foundation provides the weaving loom and the participants buy their own yarn. Be aware that it is not a one day class and that you need to stay at least one whole year (spending at least 6 hours a day for five days a week) at the gallery to complete a full Pua.
- Buy a nice pua kumbu directly from the weavers: they produce full pieces of Pua Kumbu, with natural or chemical dyes. Small ikat pieces can be purchased as souvenirs or for home decoration. The price depends on the size, the type of dye, the yarn material (cotton or silk), and the quality and the complexity of the patterns. 100% of the price goes directly to the weaver.
In KAPIT at Fort Sylvia
- Learn about Sarawak through photographs, artifacts and documents related to the history of Kapit, Fort Sylvia and the era of the White Rajah.
- Meet the craftspeople of Kapit district and learn about their arts: on the ground floor a large room is available for craft workshops, a gallery is dedicated to amber carvings and some crafts tools are also on display.Weaving activities and exhibitions are held occasionally to coincide with local festivities and other programs.
Contacts and How to get there
In KUCHING :
Janet Rata Noel is the curator of the Tun Jugah Kuching museum and she is a weaver herself.
Opening hours : Mondays to Fridays 9 am – 12 noon 1 pm – 4 :30 pm. Free entrance
Location : Level 4, Tun Jugah Tower, 18, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Tel: 082-239672 – Fax: 082-41218.
It is a 15 mn walk from the Kuching waterfront : follow the pathway on the bank of the Sarawak river, parallel to the Main Bazaar street until the Tua Pek Chinese temple. Then continue up Jalan Padungan on the right side of the temple until you reach a statue of a big cat. From there you can already see the Tun Jugah tower. Take a lift from within the shopping center to level 4. You can go by car or taxi and ask for the Tun Jugah tower or shopping center and tell the driver it is opposite the Top Spot food court.
In KAPIT (to get there you need to take an express boat from Sibu) :
Fort Sylvia is located on the river bank, opposite one of the two jetties (you can’t miss it because there are only two streets in Kapit). Opening hours : Tuesday to Sunday 10-12 noon & 2-5 pm. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.
To go further we recommend
- Datin Amar Margaret Linggi Pua Gallery visitor guide (2007): a light and concise booklet about the museum and the art of Pua Kumbu, for sale at the museum (RM5).
- Ties That Bind: Iban Ikat Weaving, 2nd ed. (2001), Datin Amar Margaret Linggi, The Tun Jugah Foundation. Paperback.
- Pua, Iban Weavings of Sarawak, ONG Edric, Society Atelier Sarawak, Kuching (1986).
- Visit the Tun Jugah Foundation Website to learn more about Fort Sylvia, Pua weaving and the Foundation activities and projects.
- Visit the Textile Museum in Kuching: this new four gallery museum is housed in the Pavillion building, opposite the main post office.
Written by C.Bossis, Kuala Lumpur, 23-Oct-08.
Special thanks to Janet Rata Noel who guided me inside the Museum
Permission granted to reproduce for personal use only.
Commercial use is prohibited.