Saturday, February 7, 2009

Show of Beads

Kuching is a melting pot of ethnic identities. Being the capital city of Sarawak it offers a potpourri of cultural crossroads where you can sample the various artistic traditions of the diverse ethnic groups throughout Sarawak converging in one rich cultural milieu, which is Kuching today. One tradition shared by the 'Orang Ulu' group , consisting in majority the Kayans, Kelabits and Kenyahs, is the art of beadsmaking and beads craftwork.
Today I paid a visit to one wholesale trader of Sarawak beadswork at her home. On the floor ( as shown above) was laid a variety of items like table mats, tissue paper boxes, small round bags, necklaces, head bands and key chains.

Bags used by native ladies while shopping or during ceremonial functions
The design motifs of the Orang Ulu beadswork ranges from mythical birds and animals, plant life ( e.g. twirl of ferns, shapes of leaves, flowers etc) . The flowing and moving patterns are characteristic of their design just as the choice of many colours which today can be very varied and contemporary due to the importation of more modern beads from all over the world especially China.

Table mats are favourite among modern households where they can be placed on tables overlaid with glass or transparent plastic. For many modern homes table mats are also framed up as travel mementos.

I saw varying sizes of the table mats from small square pieces ( 30x30cm) to large rectangular pieces ( 60x150cm). Below are samples of other beadswork items.

Key chains with spider motifs.



Kemesraanku said...

Itsy bitsy spiderrrr....hehehhe

Zuzana said...

I love this! I have never seen mats made of beads. Magnificent, and the colors are beautiful. Do they also make jewelry?