Kain Tenun Pahang - Malaysia



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.

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