Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Lost Craft of Selangor - Tribal Mask Carving and Wooden Ring Making

Two crafts that we visited was traditional and tribal craft.
The two that intrigued me the most thus far :
Mask carving and leaf origami from Mah Meri Tribe (one that I long to visit and yet fail to plan thus materialize)
Wooden ring-maker (of which I haven’t heard of such craft before, enthralling heh)

And here is my experience, discovering the lost art of Selangor.

Mask carving and leaf origami from Mah Meri Tribe 

Moyang Puting Beliung
Spirit of the wind

The wind especially the tornado and tsunami are some of the calamities they avoid. The spirit of the tornado is carved to remind them of the danger.

There are no two mask or sculpture the same. I have read and asked, there seems to be 2 reasons why they carve such a unique sculpture.
  • Sculpting mask or figures of their moyang (ancestor) from folk stories were used in spirit huts and left in the jungle, as offerings to the forest forces
  • There is also a story saying that they will carve base on their dream and the figures will be left in the jungle.

Three motives that the Mah Meri tribe usually base from; animal, human and spirit as they still practices animism. 

Leaf Origami
As one knew, the art of paper origami originated from Japan, Mah Meri tribe has taken it to the next level by using a palm leaf which is commonly used for making village houses’ roof, local traditional cigarette and wrapping of food (ketupat). Their expertise with making leaf origami is astounding, I ranges from headgear, hat, decorative item, ready-to-wear outfit and etc. The complexity and detailing is to shout about, one tribal and traditional craft that we should be proud of and share with the world. 

I will share more detail information in my next entry specifically on Mah Meri tribe and their cultural village. Stay tune.

Wooden Ring-maker

I never knew such right existed, let alone a wooden ring-maker. How interesting and unique. Visiting and learning on this traditional craft form is refreshing and enlightening, Not all woods are suitable for ring, different wood gives different colour and texture, price differs base on wood, intricacy and metal use to hold the ring together. Also, some of the wood are not readily available and one have to make reservation since the quantity required a small, normally ring-maker would just share among their friends. The other thing I learnt here is that some wood gives certain health benefit, able to ward off evil or even dangerous animals. It is not as simple as it seems. Apparently.

Encik Sabri, a famous wooden ring-maker inherited his skill from his late father helped by friends of the same passion path his way to be one of the popular ring-maker in Selangor. Skilled in cleaning silver plate, ring and bangle repair, wood and semi-precious stone grinding and etc. I was told that in order to hold the wood, a metal is being used, which ranged from platinum, silver or as requested by the buyer. This leads to the price of ring. Encik Sabri’s clientale goes as far as middle east and as near our neighbouring countries; Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

An authentic craft is phasing off as not many are interested in learning this unique and traditional craftsmanship.

Kembara Kraf Selangor Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Tourism Selangor and UPEN with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.

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