“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
-Francis of Assisi
(Photos by @joehairie)
Malaysia has a wealth of traditional arts and crafts. Many villages are skilled artisans, and they dedicate a great deal of time and effort towards creating these exquisite pieces. Handicrafts can be made of fabric, wood, bamboo and many more. They make excellent souvenirs. Recently we had this great opportunity to be at the Malaysian Craft Promotion 2016 held at Center Point Shopping Complex, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. This awesome promotion and showcase of traditional crafts is currently being organized from May 20, 2016 to June 5, 2016. This entry is dedicated to those who have interest in Malaysia/Sabah Traditional Crafts.
The rich tapestry of Sabah’s multi-ethnic cultures is stitched on fibers and fabrics of many colours, textures and forms. Steeped in tradition, every tribe has its own unique crafts and skills, reflecting their roots, livelihood and the landscapes of their surroundings — lowland, highland, interior and coast. With more than 30 different indigenous groups, and dozens of sub-tribes, the ethnic make-up of Sabah is not only multi-layered but also as colourful as the beads that adorn the necklaces of the tribal women (Putri Zanina, 5 October 2015).
The largest group is Kadazandusun (dusun means orchard, and the people are traditionally farmers) concentrated mainly in the valleys and hilly areas surrounding Ranau, Panampang,Tambunan and Keningau. The tribes include Dusun, Rungus, Lotud and Minokok. The second largest is Bajau, including the Bajau Laut with seafaring skills, living on the east and west coasts of Sabah. The third largest is Murut in the hinterland and along the Kinabatangan River. The Iranun has even combined the dastar tradition with that of the Malay songket. Using metallic gold threads, the Iranun women create sampin songket dastar—a glittering fusion of metallic gold threads and elaborate motifs. The
Rungus women of Kudat not only produce Sabah’s best beaded accessories, they’re also known for the intricate black and red reversible kain tinohian, a cloth typically and traditionally worn as a ceremonial headgear by the Rungus men. But the cloth can also make eye-catching table cloths and wall decorations. Sabah hand-painted silk batik depicting unique Murut, Rungus and Kadazan motifs are turned into lovely shawls, scarves, and readymade clothes. Musical instruments, some hard to get these days, such as the bamboo sampoton (wind instrument) kulintangan (a set of eight or nine small gongs) and suling (flute) made by the Kadazandusun make interesting buys. Even if you don’t know how to play these instruments, they make fascinating mementos of Sabah.
Back to the Craft Promotion/Exhibition at Center Point, Sabah. If you can’t make it to the Exhibition, no worries, below are the photos of the respective participants/sellers showcasing their unique traditional crafts. If you are interested in buying their products, simple call them using the respective numbers given below.
Gong-Traditional Music Instrument
Ammy Dimi Bahal
KG Sumangkap, Matunggong, Kudat
Mobile: + 60 14 652 3665 OR + 60 19 802 3834
Batik Taro Camara
Mardiana binti Azis
Mobile: + 60 14 203 1018 OR +60 10 210 9334
KG Batu Lunguyon, Sook, Keningau
Mobile: +60 19 841 1588
KG Gansurai, Kota Belud
Mobile: + 60 14 951 8278
Parang/Traditional Machete of The Bajau Kota Belud and Handicrafts
Jamawid Hj. Soh (Tamu Kota Belud)
Mobile: +60 13 869 5860
Asia City Shopping Complex
Mobile: + 60 16 835 7044
Sabah Traditional Costumes/Accessories
(Fatma Service and Trading)
Mobile: + 60 13 706 7259 (Azrul) OR +60 13 778 4764
Lepa-Lepa Crafts from Semporna
Mobile: +60 14 284 2896
Sompoton-Traditional Music Instrument
Mobile: + 60 14 952 6769
Putri Zanina (5 October 2015) News Straits Times Online. Retrieved on May 27, 2016 from http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/10/crafting-heritage