Monday, June 5, 2017

Tengkolok Folding (Menyolek Tengkolok/Destar)





Popularly known as tengkolok, this traditional Malay male headgear (a.k.a destar, tanjak, and setangan kepala) is nowadays being worn in official events, weddings or investiture ceremony when one is being coffered with knighthood. Historically, it is folded or binded ('solek' in Malay tengkolok term) to neaten the hair when commoners visit their Sultan. As it quickly become a great favourite, it later made into the official attire for the palace as well as for the public.


For Perak royalties, ones rank is closely related to each tengkolok binding style and colour. Each states has its own binding style and it is also said that Perak has the most beautiful tengkolok binding. However, the most famous style is called Dendam Tak Sudah from the state of Negeri Sembilan. It was learnt that the art of creating tengkolok is by folding and shaping it using hand and knee. No machine can create this piece of art.

There is a folklore pertaining how tengkolok came about in the malay sultanate custom. It was told that the first Sultan of Perak; Sultan Muzaffar Shah I ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Shah (1528 – 1549) set sail to Perak to form the Perak Sultanate. Sultan Muzaffar was the second prince born to the last Sultan of Melaka, Sultan Mahmud Shah, who was then exiled to Johor following the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese (this is also the reason why Keris Taming Sari resides in Perak, under the care of the royal palace). The Melaka Sultanate royal regalia, including the Royal Crown of Melaka were brought together in his journey to Perak.



Nearing Perak, Sultan Muzaffar Shah ship entered shallow waters and was stuck hence the crew decided to lighten the load of the ship to get the ship sailing again. Many of the items carried on the ship were thrown into the sea yet the ship still refused to budge, everything was removed from the ship inclusive of the Royal Crown. Immediately the ship was able to move, pleased with the offering of the Royal Crown, and soon after Sultan Muzaffar Shah able to continue his journey.

This act of throwing the royal crown into the sea was identified as a miracle sign, he swore that he and his descendants would never wear a crown as Sultans, nor be crowned during their installation. Subsequently, this has became a practice by other states’s Sultans, thus till today, Tengkolok came as a replacement for the royal crown.


To know how tengkolok became known or existed amongst the malay culture, one has to understand the history behind it. In 7th century during the height of Sriwijaya empire, Langkasuka was conquered, and during this invasion, tengkolok was introduced and worn by the Srivijayan that eventually localized and assimilated with the locals.

There are 8 styles of Perak tengkolok folding or binding that has been recorded, namely Anak Gajah Menyusu, Dendam Tak Sudah, Ayam Patah Kepak, Alang Iskandar, Helang Menyusur Angin, Pucuk Pisang Patah, Balong Ayam and Getam Pekasam. Many might have not known that the tengkolok folding for the Sultan has a higher ‘pucuk rebung’ as compared to commoners. Hence, the art of tengkolok folding in Perak is cared for its heritage and culture are highly valued.

Below are the Perak styles and colours that are associated with ranks :
DYMM Sultan –Balong ayam. White and gold
DYTM Raja Muda –Ayam patah kepak. Yellow and gold
DYAM Raja Di-Hilir –Lang Menyusun Angin. Black and silver

Tengkolok Helang Menyusur Angin worn by Sultan Perak, Sultan Nazrin upon his coronation.






Both ‘Jelajah Kesultanan dan Warisan Melayu Perak 2017’ and ‘Perak World of Wonders -- Ramadhan Edition 2017’ Media Fam Trip are organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner and Tourism Malaysia with #GayaTravel as media coordinator respectively.






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