Besides conveying artistry, the pua kumbu is regarded as a status symbol in Iban society, a sign of material wealth, social rank and prestige. A young girl’s matrimonial worth and value is considerably increased if she possesses good weaving skills. The best pieces are given as dowry during betrothal ceremonies. They are treasured and only displayed publicly during weddings, births, illnesses and funerals. When Iban chiefs die, their corpses are surrounded by as many as 15 hanging pua kumbu.
Most renowned are the women of the Garie longhouse in Sungai Kain. Getting there involves flying from Kuching to Sibu, a three-hour boat ride to Kapit, a two hour upriver trip to Nanga Kain and another two-hour longboat journey to reach the destination.
Other places include the Pua Gallery at Fort Sylvia, Kapit and the Tun Jugah Pua Gallery in Kuching.