Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Traditional Handicrafts of Malaysia

Special Issue of Postage Stamps on Traditional Handicrafts of Malaysia

Date of Issue: 1982-11-26
Denomination: 10c, 15c, and 75c
Stamp Size: 31.93mm x 48.26mm
Paper: White unwatermarked security postage stamp paper
Printing Process: Offset lithography
Printer: Messrs. Harrison & Sons Ltd., High Wycombe, England
Sheet Composition: 100 stamps
Designer: Ajib N.S. Kuala Lumpur

Stamps in the Series:

First Day Cover:

Special Issue of Stamps
The theme for the second special issue of postage stamps for 1982 is ‘Traditional Handicrafts of Malaysia.’
Traditional Handicrafts of Malaysia
Traditional handicrafts of Malaysia form an invaluable part of the nation’s cultural heritage. Equally certain is their endangered position, their need to be nurtured and kept alive. The handicrafts portray a historical and socio-economic background which provides perspective and a deeper understanding of their place in Malaysian society.
The days of aristocratic patronage are over and changing times bring changing tastes.
There is a need for a new strategy to make these crafts economically visible without destroying their aesthetic value through commercialization and standardization.
Conscious of these changing circumstances, the Postal Services Department has decided to include 3 handicrafts in its special issue of postage stamps viz. Sabah Hat, Gold Threaded Cloth and Pottery.
The special issue of postage stamps consists of 3 denominations as follows:
10c – the design depicts Sabah Hats in full color. The wordings are in white and black.
15c – the design depicts Gold Threaded Cloth in full color. The wordings are in white and black.
75c – the design depicts Pottery in full color. The wordings are in black.
10c denomination

English Translation: SABAH HAT
Seraung or ‘Sabah’s Traditional Hat’ is widely used by the people in the state of Sabah particularly the indigenous communities such as the Kadazan or Dusun from the districts of Penampang, Tambunan, Papar and Keningau.
It is the product of skilled handicraft work using raw materials found in the state of Sabah. Seraung is conical in shape and bamboo embroidered and is weaved together with rotan at the cylindrical base. With the use of local dye, Seraung is colored with a background of light yellow and wavy stripes in black and red running from top to bottom the pattern and shape of a pyramid.
Seraung is traditionally used on various occasions such as padi harvesting times in several districts and also during Kadazan Celebrations popularly known in Kadazan as ‘Tadau Kaanamatan’. Tadau Kaanamatan is celebrated annually around the 13th of May by Kadazans in the state of Sabah.
15c denomination

English Translation: GOLD THREADED CLOTH
Songket is a traditional Malaysian hand woven fabric. It is woven on the traditional two-paddle floor looms by Malays women in the North Eastern Coast of the Peninsular. Chemically dyed yarns of silk or cotton, and sometimes, a combination of both is used as wefts and warps of the fabric. Gold or metallic thread is inlaid as tapestry to form the intricate designs.
If one studies the woven pieces of Songket and other woven fabrics one can see that Songket has its own special technique of waving and is different from other woven pieces. Songket, like in brocade, has no floating over shots of the waft, to emphasize the design. In Songket, all warp threads are carefully counted and arranged in such a way that no over shots will appear on the right side of the fabric. Usually, the traditional songket designs are very intricate, metallic or gold threaded, covering the whole fabric, with paneling (Kepala) decoratively adorned with bamboo shoot motifs. Each songket has either one or two paneling followed by a smaller border running horizontally on each side of the panel. Most of the time they have only one long elaborate panel. In traditional songket, they even have songket in ‘ikat’ called ‘kain cindai’.
Patterns used are usually local flowers scattered or done all over, and which appear geometrical. Since songket is used for special occasions and at ceremonies the colors selected here are rich, primary and bright to emphasize the richness of the gold thread. Maroon, yellow, green, brown, blue are the colors mostly used in the warp and weft threads of songket.
75c denomination

Local Name: TEMBIKAR
English Translation: POTTERY
Pottery is a handicraft popularly produced by the people of Sabah, Sarawak, Sayong in the state of Perak and Mambong in Kelantan. Sarawak pottery is intricately decorated with unique ethnic motifs. Glazed and unglazed, shapes follow the lines of Chinese porcelain originally traded in the riverside jungle areas of North Borneo many centuries ago.

The ceramic pottery of Sayong, Perak is normally blackish in color, and mostly used as water coolers because of its porosity, while Mambong pottery consists of brownish red earthen pots, mainly for cooking.

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