The weaving sword is part of a back-strap loom that is traditionally used to weave textiles all over Indonesia. It is a smooth, narrow wooden slat which the weaver uses to beat down each new weft into place. As she does so, the far end of the loom hits supporting poles, causing a rhythmic clacking sound which proclaims the weaver’s diligence throughout the village.
Iban textiles are believed to have been influenced by the Dong son culture of Vietnam which began to flourish between 600 and 400 BC. This influence is evident in weaving tools such as this weaving sword. The finial of this weaving sword features two pairs of ancestor figures in embrace. Directly below them is a plaque decorated with Dong son motifs of S-shaped hooks on the sides and spirals forming two heart-shaped faces in the center.