Not many people knew about the Dusun Lobu, a sub-Dusun ethnicities from Sook, an interior district in Sabah, Borneo Island. I manage to interview a few of them who were present at the Harvest Festival celebration at Hongkod Koisaan, Penampang, recently to get to know more about their costume.

Dusun Lobu, Sook, Sabah
Dusun Lobu, Sook, Sabah

The community are from Kg Kilo Lanas, Sook. They wore a woven cloth which has different motifs from the Rungus from Kudat, Sabah. The Lobu’s motifs are more complex and has similarity with the Dayak’s motif from the southern part of Borneo Island.

The woven cloth of the Dusun Lobu is called Binaduan. It took them approximately a month to weaved for just 1 complete costume. A complete costume consist of 2 pieces of woven Binaduan, sewn together to make a long piece of rectangular cloth, Beyangkis, with a hole at the middle for the neck.

Woven cloth of the Dusun Lobu, Binaduan
Woven cloth of the Dusun Lobu, Binaduan

They also sewn the woven Binaduan to make a long or short skirt for the ladies. Beads from the plants are used to be crafted to accessorise their costume, however nowadays, it has been replaced with the colorful plastic beads.

Mangudirou, beaded hair accessories with leaves (Tinanda)
Mangudirou, beaded hair accessories with leaves (Tinanda)
Rarayut, colorful woven beads hanging at their back
Rarayut, colorful woven beads hanging at their back
Udi belt from small sea shells. In the olden days, they also make their Udi from the Dalai seeds (Job's Tears)
Udi belt from small sea shells. In the olden days, they also make their Udi from the Dalai seeds (Job’s Tears)

Both man and woman wore Beyangkis, however the man’s Beyangkis has a finer motif called Inambau and a red cloth tighten of their head. Sadly, the Inambau motif could not be woven already as none of the womenfolks knew how to weave the motifs. The last person who used to weaved it has already passed away, according to Mohd Hilmi Abdullah.

Mohd Hilmi Abdullah with red woven Binaduan
Mohd Hilmi Abdullah with red woven Binaduan

Apart from the Dusun Lobu, the Murut Baukan from Sook donned the woven cloth too as their costume. One could not easily differentiate the Baukan from the Lobu, as the woven cloth were actually weaved by the Dusun Lobu according to Mdm Salitah Sanadon. To tell them apart is to observe their head accessories, the Murut lady will donned their head with bird’s feather while the Lobu’s with beads and leaves.

Mdm Salitah, a Dusun Lobu weaver from Sook who learn the weaving skill from her late mother
Mdm Salitah, a Dusun Lobu weaver from Sook who learn the weaving skill from her late mother

As for man, the Lobu usually match their Beyangkis with black pants while the Baukan match the Beyangkis with red short pant and red cloth belt.

Siningkololaing or Siningkoulun motif, a look alike person motif
Siningkololaing or Siningkoulun motif, a look alike person motif

According to Mdm Salitah, there is a taboo for the Binaduan weaver. A maried women especially with children are not allowed to weave. Only single, unmarried or widowed lady allowed to weave in the olden days. There was a story about a skillful weaver who was very eager to complete her weaving of a people alike motif, Siningkololaing or Siningkoulun that she ignore to her baby cries. She was very engrossed with her work that she took the Siningkoulun motif as her baby and weaved from morning till night. After completed her weaving, then only she realised thay her beloved baby has been dead for few hours already due to hunger. She was very devastated with her ignorance and since then she has forbade any married woman to weave.However, due to not many Dusun Lobu master the weaving skills nowadays, they has lifted the ban and allowed married ladies to learn and weaved too.

Thank you to Mdm Salitah & Mr Mohd Hilmi for your sharing.

Visit Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Musuem to know more about the costume of the indigenous people of Borneo Island.

 

by Anne Antah

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