Kain Tenun Pahang

Oct 9, 2013

Hand-woven fabrics have long become an integral part of Malaysian lifestyle.  These artistic fabrics are used in daily life as well as in formal functions and festive functions.  Luxuriant gold-embroidered Songket, colourful batik and Pahang’s silk woven fabrics are still being produced in traditional manner.  These traditionally beautiful creations have kept on alive, thus generating high praises due its intricate and attractive design that have captivated artifact collectors all over the world.

The Kain Tenun Pahang first arrived in Peninsular Malaysia in 1722. When the Dutch invaded the port of Makassar in Sulawesi in 1669, it caused an exodus of the local Bugis to lands far from colonial influences. They finally landed in Pahang known then as Inderapura . The writer, Dr.W.Linehen recorded that a weaver named Keraing Aji who was bestowed a respected title of Tuk Tuan, introduced a hand-woven fabric weaved on the Malay frame loom to the local folk in Pahang. Although not as flamboyant as the songket, the kain tenun Pahang is distinct in its colourful weave plaids and is used for royal ceremonies.

Opportunities for the resurrection of handwoven textiles and its influence in society in the 20th century is limited to supplying often to the local handicraft market and a number of enthusiastic textile collectors. The East Malaysian textiles are in danger of diminishing as fewer young people are willing to continue the traditions of the their forefathers. In the early 1980's, the Malaysia Handicraft Development Corporation began community programmes to help the indigenous people in producing hand-woven textile. Modifications have been encouraged in order to provide a basis for commercialisation. However, the danger here is loss of the textile's identity and authenticity as ritual and ceremonial cloths. The hand-woven textiles in Malay Peninsula, on the other hand, are witnessing a revival. Apart from the usual wedding gift and ceremonial wear, these prestige textiles are being revered as pieces of cultural art, adorning foyers of buildings etc. As was during the Melaka Sultanate, the true Malay identity is secured.

Works of Arts comes in many forms. Textile is one of the many. The one that are hand woven are unique in itself for they can never be two alike. If you own a piece of this hand woven material especially the traditional one, you would surely have one of a kind. Just like the Tenun Pahang or The Pahang Weaving textile. A sarong of a sort now made into textile that could be turn into a fine lady dress and other apparels as well as table clothes, tie, handkerchief and other souvenir items. It is actually a part of a tradition that had evolve in times. The Tenun Pahang, once the exclusive for man has now became a designed fashion textile, that is unique. It still retained that traditional Malay sarong touch. It is a textile that is made famous by the Royal House of Pahang in the Royal town of Pekan, Pahang.

Pahang hand-woven fabrics are created by using a traditional loom call ‘kek Siam’.  The design are characterized by the checkered patterns, arranged in such a way that the color sequence can be changed intermittently from the warp (vertical thread) to the weft (horizontal thread).  The price of each completed fabric would depend on the materials and thread used. Pahang hand-woven fabrics are used as sarongs, sampins, scarves and traditional attire. 

Today, the creation of these fabrics has been varied and adjusted to fits the local and foreign designers taste where the fabrics are designed for formal dinners, royal and wedding ceremonies and other important events.  It has become a handicraft that is of high quality and demand.  With the present acquired appreciation, Pahang hand-woven fabrics long over-due fame has arrived.


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