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Peninsular Malaysia - to Training Centre

Kuala Lumpur - MHDC

Kuala Lumper Craft Museum
No. 26, Jalan Sultan Hishamudin

One of the principle purposes of The Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation is to promote and rehabilitate traditional skills and craftsmanship. An example of this is being carried out through the Kuala Lumpur Textile Museum, a gallery setting that is educating Malaysians and tourists alike about the rich textile heritage of the country. The museum has an outstanding exhibition of traditional costumes and textiles showing displays of how many of the traditional fabrics are created.

Mohd. Latif Haji Dirun of the Textile Gallery explains techniques used.

The use of gold foil to create motifs on fabric is a traditional craft creating rich embellishment. The tools used are displayed here together with a sample of the end product. The wooden carved blocks are pressed into a mixture of gum Arabic and then stamped onto the fabric. Then gold foil is carefully pressed onto the sticky design area and carefully rubbed to ensure that it will adhere. The excess foil is removed, leaving the precise design area covered in gold.

This garment is designed with gold leaf.

Strong mats are created with Pandanus leaf by plating the leaf, which has been specially prepared. The skill in design control can be seen in this example, which has designs of open spaces adding to the overall design. Working the fibre back into the mat for strength and durability carefully finishes all the edges.

This display of Pua Kumbu from Sarawak shows the variety of design within this ikat textile of the Iban weavers. The symbolic designs are part of a rich cultural heritage. These cloths were originally used in traditional ceremonies and are created with involved sacred ritual before and during preparation of the yarns. Natural dyes are used which require special mordant treatments to enable the dye to bond with the cotton yarn. This yarn is tie-dyed first before dyeing to create the intricate designs on the warp threads. These threads must be carefully managed to keep the alignment of the design in perfect order, a no mean feat.


Hajah Rahjimah bt. Dato' Haji Ahmad, 1999, Revival of Ikat Weaving: The Role of Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation, International Ikat Weaving Forum, Sarawak.
Linggi, D.A.M. 1998, Ties That Bind: An Exhibition catalogue of Ikat Fabrics.
Mohd. Latif Hajif Dirun 1999, Personal interview, Kuala Lumpur.
Ong, E. & Tettoni, L. 1996, Sarawak Style, Times Editions, Singapore.