Weaving in Sarawak
Sarawak is famous for its handicrafts such as rattan baskets and mats which can be purchased in most handicraft shops or stalls during events. These baskets and mats are usually handmade through weaving by indigenous women and the pattern slightly differs between each group.
For the Iban group, they used rattan to weave mats called lampit which are proudly displayed in their longhouses and during visits by honourable guests. The rattan vines were harvested, processed, dried and split to make the mats and it can take days to harvest them.
For the Bidayuh group, rattan is also used to weave their mats called Tikar Kasah. There are 2 types of Tikar Kasah, which are Kasah Segeh and Kasah Maiee. These mats are a form of expression for the Bidayuh community and it reflects their philosophies, values and outlook on the world.
Baskets are another product that is made through weaving and it takes a lot of patience and skills to weave the shapes and patterns on the baskets. There are a few types of baskets traditionally weaved, such as tambok and Penan drawstring baskets. The tambok is a cylindrical carrying basket made by the Bidayuh people and they also weave fruit baskets (ranji) and baskets for rice harvesting (juah) aside from the tambok. The Penan drawstring basket is a beautiful rattan basket made by the Penan tribe and it comes in black and natural coloured patterns. The basket also has shoulder straps.
There are other items that are made through weaving such as winnowing trays and terendak. The winnowing trays are also made from rattan and are still used by village folks in Sarawak. The function of the tray is to separate rice from the chaff and it is shaped like a shovel. It is used by different ethnic groups in Sarawak for the same purpose. The terendak is a Melanau sun hat and is meant to be worn by women. Traditionally, the terendak is black and red in colour.
There are a lot more handicrafts and products made through weaving in Sarawak so do check out your local stores if you are keen to get one and to show your support for these handmade goods.
(Woman weaving a basket-Image taken from issuu.com)
(Sarawak mats-Image taken from sarawaktourism.com)
Puah, K. (2010). Getting to know your kasah. The Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2010/07/03/getting-to-know-your-kasah.
Yi, C. (2022). Rattan baskets and mats – a loving legacy. BorneoPost online. Retrieved from https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/02/23/rattan-baskets-and-mats-a-loving-legacy/.
PRECIOUS WOVEN CRAFTS OF SARAWAK - Issuu. issuu. (2022). Retrieved from https://issuu.com/borneotalkkuching/docs/vol57-borneotalk/s/10711686.