KUCHING: The richness of textile heritage among the diverse communities in Borneo must be preserved for the benefit of future generations, said Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom.
Pointing out that Borneo is the third biggest island in the world, he said textiles play a very important role in the cultures of its people.
“Borneo communities are rich with the cultural heritage of textiles. For example, pua kumbu, songket and batik have been connoisseurs’ items and they have been exhibited in most of the famous museums in the country.
“Not only that, the uniqueness resulting from the art and inspiration has been enriched by fashion lovers from our country such as Tom Saufi with his pua kumbu theme.
“As for Indonesia, their Batik is the favourite of many across the world.
“This shows that we are not only rich in moral but the art of weaving,” he said in his speech read by Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage Liwan Lagang at the launching of ‘Pameran Wastra Borneo 2014’ at Sarawak Textile Museum, here, yesterday.
In Sarawak, until now, Pua Kumbu was still considered a sacred textile and motifs of the textile depended on the positions of the weavers.
“It also plays a very important role in Iban customs such as during birth, Gawai celebration, marriage and after ‘ngayau’,” said Mawan.
Neighbouring countries also regard textiles as a treasure that must be preserved, he said, adding that in Indonesia batik was worn by warriors and used as dowry during marriage.
“In Brunei, the country is famous for its songket. I was informed that the Brunei Museum Department had brought their ‘songket jong sarat’ (to this exhibition) and this will surely be an attraction for Sarawakians, especially the songket weavers.”
‘Pameran Wastra Borneo’ was organised as one of the efforts to increase cooperation between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam under the Malaysia-Indonesia Social Economy Forum (Sosek Malindo).
On the exhibition, Mawan said it would strengthen ties and understanding between the diverse communities in Borneo famous for their richness in customs as well as culture and heritage.
“It is my hope that this sort of exhibition will be able to help establish a harmonious bilateral relationship and promote appreciation of the textile culture that we have as one of the aspects in strengthening national identity.”
The exhibition was also to strengthen cooperation among the museums and exhibit textile collections from Borneo besides increasing awareness of the richness and uniqueness of the textile collections.
Various activities were also held during the exhibition such as demonstrations on pua kumbu, songket and kulit kayu weaving, besides a fashion show by exhibitors from Kapuas Raya Museum and local designers.
Inaugurated last year, the exhibition will be held in Brunei Museum next year.