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A beautiful tradition, handmade songket fabric by Terengganu Malaysian weavers

Malaysia

Our authentic fabric is high-quality handmade songket based on centuries of Malaysian heritage, which support the economic empowerment of rural women weavers.

  • I

    HERITAGE

    Malay songket textures are an enduring symbol of status, luxury and prestige, displaying royal symbols and patterns of intricate beauty. For centuries, songket cloth was worn by monarchs and aristocracy.

    The songket was only made by hand, carefully prepared by the best creators. Now songket cloth is used by all layers of society, including brides, traditional dancers, and those who need attire for formal occasions such as university ceremonies. However, it is still strongly associated with its traditional concepts of palace, heroism and majesty, and its use suggests the rank and position of a person or occasion of social and cultural significance. This is seen in its appearance in a variety of Malay customs and public events. Parallel to its cultural modernisation, songket fabric has also changed significantly, and become even more stunning and magical, treated and modified according to the wearer's needs.

    Terengganu songket is arguably the best for those who require something beautiful, traditional and unique and it is the combination of these special factors that makes it the most exclusive songket.

    The delicate process of preparing the traditional warp board, an important initial stage for the weaving process.

    The delicate process of preparing the traditional warp board, an important initial stage for the weaving process.

    Malaysia

  • II

    CRAFT

    Songket Terengganu is believed to contain the best quality materials and benefit from the most expert craftswomanship, based on its own unique identity and symbolism. It is traditionally cultivated. The materials selected in the production of songket are chosen for their finest appearance, smell and touch. These qualities clearly distinguish Terengganu songket from artificial songket from other states, along with its traditional weaving techniques and manufacturing processes.

    Traditional woven techniques are still maintained in Terengganu where songket is produced through looms which the worker operates by hand and foot. Each sheet of yarn is examined during the weaving process, and this ensures the Terengganu songket achieves its high quality with a classic and unique pattern that has to be seen up close to really appreciate its richness and splendour. It is woven in silk or cotton yarn, and the songket pattern is formed by gold or coloured metallic yarns, using additional woven techniques by its highly skilled weavers. Woven fabric can be judged by the complexity of the process of tweaking flowers. The type of yarn used in this process, either silk, cotton or polyester also determines the softness and the quality of the cloth of songket Terengganu.

    Choosing songket Terengganu symbolises the customer is someone who seeks beauty, perfection, neatness and precision in their choice of fabrics. The production requires high precision and patience, two traits that are important in order to produce the finest and best quality songket weaving.

    Traditional skills are used during the complex weaving process, to ensure the highest quality outcome.

    Traditional skills are used during the complex weaving process, to ensure the highest quality outcome.

    Malaysia

  • III

    SKILL

    Terengganu songket weavers embody modesty, and take satisfaction from the knowledge that good work comes from a sincere heart and the pleasure the songket gives to those who have the privilege to wear it.

    Supreme skill and creativity is required by the songket weaver. A pair of lengthy songket fabrics range from 2 metres to 4 metres and takes between six to 12 weeks to complete, yet the woven pattern is developed from the weaver’s unique idea and imagination. The songket fabric is created by the weaving of silk or cotton yarn woven together with gold thread or silver thread. The woven cloth headscarf is usually created in accordance with the weaver’s own preferences. The commonly used patterns are known by names such as ‘mangosteen features’, ‘bambo shoots’, ‘lawi ayam’ and ‘fruit’. While the pattern of songket, in turn, consists of full flower arrangement patterns, tabor flowers and patterned masks.

    Whilst songket fabrication has become modernised, however its traditional skills are still practiced by songket weavers especially in the state of Terengganu. Significantly, highest quality threads from Japan are also used by the weavers in Terengganu.

    The weaver applies different elements to the fabric to develop her unique creative design.

    The weaver applies different elements to the fabric to develop her unique creative design.

    Malaysia

  • IV

    TRADITION

    Songket is produced in small quantities in the majority of homes in Terengganu, ensuring the songket is a major part of the social and cultural identity of the region.

    The songket weaving industry is also composed of women mainly who live at home with their families. In fact, at one point almost all houses in Terengganu had the tools to weave songket so every woman in Terengganu was clearly skilled in songket weaving. Not only that, these women were tutored in songket weaving skills from an early age, as young as 7 years old, to ensure the skills and knowledge of this precious art was absorbed into their hearts. The weavers of the Terengganu State also acquired the best ideas and best skills in producing their designs of nature often by simply looking at the natural beauty all around them, in what is such a wonderful region with a rich ecology. This special blend of knowledge, experience and skills that has given the weavers of Terengganu their own uniqueness means they are capable of producing the finest examples of songket.

    The incredible aesthetic value and uniqueness of Terengganu songket is not only celebrated in Terengganu Malay society, but also across Malaysia, and South East Asia, and globally by those with an interest in the finest garment making and textiles traditions.

    The art of using fine silk materials is a skill handed down through the generations.

    The art of using fine silk materials is a skill handed down through the generations.

    Malaysia

    • The traditional warp board with highest quality silk materials.
    • A partially woven silk fabric showcasing the authentic Terengganu design.

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