handicraft and souvenir items in Malaysia extend beyond the ordinary
key-chain and stationary to include items such as hand woven
mengkuang fans, tribal carrier bags, stylish pottery, shadow
puppets, pewter, silverware, brassware, and fabrics of unique designs
fashioned into handbags, slip-ons, sarongs, and beachwear as well as a host
of other decor pieces and functional household items.
items that are truly 'Made in Malaysia' simply look for specific
objects that you may have heard of; the batik sarong, the tribal bamboo
blowpipe, the labu sayong gourd-shaped vessel, the fabled
majestic Terengganu hand carved wooden panel, etc. Apart from being of high quality, they
are also value for money bargains.
The prices of handicrafts are not standard but vary from one place to another.
an Indonesian craft, batik has made itself at home in Malaysia.
You will find it in Penang, but Kelantan is its true home.
Malaysian Batik is the best in the world and is created by four
methods: block- printing, drawn free style, silk-screened, or
tie-dyed. Batik fabrics are usually cotton and silk. Batik cloth is produced by drawing out a design with wax and dying the
material. The wax is then melted away by boiling the cloth, and a
second wax design is drawn in.
After this repeated process, an intricate and beautifully
coloured design is produced. Batik can be found as cloths, cushion
covers, table-cloths, placemats or simply as works of art. Batik
sarongs are usually a novelty with tourists.
A specialty of Kelantan and Terengganu,
“Kain Sonket” is
a hand-woven fabric with gold and silver threads through the
material. ‘Tekat’ is a form of gold embroidery that is
traditionally used to decorate traditional Malay weddings regalia.
Nowadays, it is used as tissue-box covers, handbags, wall
decorations and tablecloths.
“Mengkuang” is a far more prosaic form of weaving using
pandunus leaves and strips of bamboo to make baskets, bags and
Mah Meri and Jah Hut, two tribes of aborigines in Peninsula
Malaysia are noted for their carvings of mythical creatures
related to their folklore. The carvings are usually from the wood of
mangrove trees and are maroon in colour. To get the best prices
buy direct from these carvers, who mostly live in the coastal
district of Selangor, especially on Pulau Carey (Carey Island).
alloy of tin, antimony and copper, pewter is easily malleable and
does not lose its shiny lustre over time. Made in a variety of
tableware and gift items, both in contemporary and traditional
patterns featuring functional and style.
and Crafts of East Malaysia
the most famous east Malaysian art is ‘pua kumbu’, a
weaving technique used to produce both everyday and ceremonial items
decorated with a wide range of patterns.
Woodcarving is another prized art, and the most skilled
carvers of all are thought to be the Kenya and Kayan peoples, who produce enormous finely detailed burial columns ‘kelirieng’
carved from tree trunks. Less
formidable, but equally beautiful are small wooden hunting charms
and ornate knife hilts known as
is a native woven cloth by the Iban of Sarawak. Weavers use dyes
made from roots, bark leaves and other vegetation. .They are now a
novelty specially made for fashion and furnishings.
Kris, with its elaborately carved handle and wavy blade is a
unique icon in Malay cultural history. It evolved from a royal
weapon of choice to a status symbol in Malay history.
Hand-woven traditional Malay fabric with gold and silver threads.
unglazed, Malay pottery can be divided into four types - The
Labu Sayong of Perak, the Belanga, the Buyung and the Terenang.
Mengkuang (screwpine leaves) or
pandanus weaving is one of the traditional arts still very much
alive and its products are still in demand.
uniquely designed Malayan kite has
flown since times past.
are various types of wau such as Wau Kuching (Cat Kite), Wau Merak
(Peacock Kite), and Wau Bulan (Moon Kite). Each wau
puppets used in cultural entertainment in the manner of
shadow play are made of cow leather (kulit) that has been
stretched and dried. The patterns are then carved out.
Silver and Brass ceremonial, decorative, ornamental and
functional items of intricate designs made in the traditional
manner of Malay craftsmen.
wood carvings frequently adorn the doors, walls and windows of
traditional Malay houses. Popular motifs for relief carvings are various
Malaysian flowers and plants.
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