Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The art of kain songket ("brocaded cloth"), the manufacture of silk and cotton fabric brocaded with gold or silver thread, has been known throughout western Indonesia since at least the seventh century, the time of the early Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Brocade weaving was most likely introduced to the archipelago by Indian craftsmen or merchants, along with many other crafts and art forms. The most luxurious silk brocades were worn by the nobility as part of their ceremonial attire; less valuable cotton brocades were used for classical dance costumes. Brocade weaving was the prerogative of noble women. With the introduction of cheaper raw materials, however, such as rayon and artificial silk in the 1930s, brocade manufacture gradually spread to the lower socioeconomic classes. In recent decades the Indonesian government has encouraged the manufacture of traditional local products. Home production has become an important economic activity, and brocade weaving has provided a decent, if not lucrative, income for many female household members, particularly in Bali and Lombok, where kain songket are still worn in numerous traditional rituals. The raw materials, mainly imported from abroad, are available even in small village markets.

Further Reading

Hauser-Schäublin, Brigitta, Marie-Louise Nabholz-Kartaschoff, and Urs Ramseyer. (1991) Textilien in Bali. Singapore: Periplus Editions.

Nakatani, Ayami. (1999) "Eating Threads: Brocades as Cash Crop for Weaving Mothers and Daughters in Bali." In Staying Local in the Global Village: Bali in the Twentieth Century, edited by Raechelle Rubinstein and Linda H. Connor. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 203–229.

This is the complete article, containing 252 words (approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)

PSN creativity

A Culture of Malaysian Creativity
Long before modern inventions were heard off, heritage of innovation was already firmly in place in the Malay archipelagos, breathing beauty and cultural tradition into everyday objects.
For clothing, our weavers created the exquisite songket. This creation brought together the threads of a multicultural heritage from Chinese silk, Indian gold and Malay artisanship.
For carpeting, the weavers worked the humble mengkuang leaves into floor mats and cushions. The leaves emit a soothing fragrance and doubles as a repellent to pestilent insects.
For protection, our blacksmiths applied alchemy to keris-making, fusing different metals for their strength, durability and aesthetic qualities.
Traditional Homes
For homes, craftmen built elevated homes with strong hardwood that kept their families dry even during the ravaging monsoons.
Inventions & Designs
Innovation is present not only in the choice of materials used, but permeates the designs of these traditional products as well. The porous nature of mengkuang mats keeps the body well aerated in spite of Malaysia's humidity. The absence of nails did not faze our early builders, who put up houses and even palaces using only the strength of good architecture and even stronger joints.
Labu Sayong
The distinct gourd shape of the labu sayong assists the cooling of water, a necessary pleasure in the hot Malaysian climate. The inherent minerals in the labu sayong's chief clay and minerals, believed to be able to cure fevers and coughs. Considering the popularity of mineral pots today, could it be that our forefathers had already put this concept to good use centuries ago?
A Creative Heritage
Modern technology may have lessened our dependence on these early inventions, but certainly does not render them obsolete. These crafts will stand as a testament to Malaysia's long culture of creativity, the result of experimentation and the application of basic scientific knowledge to create items that are both beautiful and rich in heritage.
The Quote

virual malaysia

Songket, a handwoven traditional Malay fabric, is a Malay word which means to bring out or to pull a thread from a background cloth or to weave using gold and silver thread.
Historically, the songket indicates a symbol of royalty. The supremacy of the Malays can be seen reflected in the songket and its motifs along with the beliefs of Hindu-Buddhism and Islam. The sense of growth, unity and human spirituality associated with animism was expressed in the songket motifs. These motifs depict the journey and the history of the Malay people in creating their cultural identity.
In the past songket production thrived under the patronage of the royal courts of the Malay Kingdoms and Sultanates in the14th century. These were situated along the coastal cities of the Malay Archipelago such as the Malay Kingdoms in Palembang, Minangkabau, Riau, the principalities of Patani, Brunei, the Bugis-Makassar and the Malay sultanate of Malacca. By the 16th century, the use of songket had become associated with ceremonial function and as artifacts in the ceremonial exchange of gifts such as a royal wedding, as an act to bestow spiritual strength and blessings, and, as a reward for bravery and excellence of service.
The scenario on songket changes as time progresses. Increase in the cost of silk yarns, gold and silver metallic threads as well as changing fashion and trends had affected the songket weaving industry by the middle of 20th century.
Today efforts to sustain the survival of the songket industry have been continuous and achieved relatively reasonable outcome as songket has now become a popular choice for the Malay wedding costume, wedding gifts, souvenirs, decorative wall panels, and the likes.
However, the revival of songket should not just end as a local product for local consumption. Once reputedly known as the "Emporium of the East", songket should accordingly be given its rightful standings.
The international symposium on songket is a platform where experts, professionals, traders, weavers, enthusiasts and supporters of songket congregate to appreciate songket's regal aesthetics, recognise it's historic significance and review the revival efforts of songket in the past and present.
The international symposium is also a channel where concerned people from around the globe share ideas, exchange thoughts, reform approaches, construct new strategies, initiate new ideas, suggests practical and feasible solutions and resolute a strong political will to ensure due honour for songket to be celebrated rightfully as the regal heritage of the Malay World, Malaysia's very own gift to civilisation.
* To rightfully place songket in the world map as the regal heritage of the Malay World - Malaysia's gift to civilisation.
* To seek, identify, encourage, support and build new sustainable enrodes in the revitalisation of the songket.
* To introduce innovative ideas and promote R & D and product development efforts to make songket more adaptable to new usage and respond to high fashion .
* To bring new awareness, vision and mission to songket weavers and the songket industry as a whole.
* To help chart the future growth and new direction of the songket industry locally and worldwide

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thank You

Thank You for surfing my brand new blog, songket-songket. I intend to promote the handicrafts of Malaysia especially the texture products such as songket and probably batik.

Thank You.