The Loincloth of Borneo
- Despite being among the most basic markers of cultural identity, the loincloth has been distinctly ignored. Anthropologists generally give a word or two regarding it, then pass on to other matters, and writers on costume ignore the topic altogether. When I came to study Borneo, I tried to find a description of what the Borneo loincloth was and how to wear it. For as the Dutchman Karl Martin said of the Sulawesi loincloth a hundred years ago, "once it's on it's hard to figure out how it got that way." Many Dayaks who have grown up in modern city life, or even farther out, are as much at a loss for the method of putting on a loincloth as any western man. Much as the western man now finds it difficult to tie a bow tie!