Thursday, July 8, 2010

Songket Design in Terengganu: A piece of art

For generations, Terengganu songket has flower motif arranged in the parallel or in squares. It is made of special threads (cotton or silk) and its motif is made from gold or silver threads. To make a piece of cloth, it takes about a month or two. That is why is expensive as it is an art. They use human power to weave every thread using a special weaving kit. In Terengganu, majority who make songket are ladies.

Weaving kit used to make songket in Terengganu.

Evolution of songket design from simple design to sophisticated design.

The design has changed over the decades especially after 1990's where there is demand for full flowers in a sheet of songket. When some flowers are added, this will add more gold threads and push the price up.

The new design which may cost more than RM7000.

This is totally different. It includes leaf, and other plants. 

As you can see, the designs are changing. The latest change in design certainly needs different kind of threads and multiple colours. 

In the older days, songket is used to make cloth and people wear this cloth at special ceremony only like wedding or meeting the king. They do not wear it everyday. Bride and bridegroom wear songket dress during wedding ceremony. The VIP guests also wear songket dress. During normal day or Hari Raya,  the men use this songket as samping cloth (like wearing half-sarong) with Baju Melayu. Some used as head gear etc. 

With innovation, songket cloth now is used in the handicraft industry for making decorative cover for bags, files, tissue boxes; key chains, table cloth, feature wall frame etc.

For those who like the art of songket, you can frame it at your wall. It looks nice. Songket design tells how difficult to do produce it as it is made with hands. That is what we called handicraft. It is a piece of art of Terengganu being passed down from generation to generation. Happy travelling.

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