The most famous hand-woven technique of textile is‘songket’. It is a ‘cloth of gold’ (sometimes with silver) that belongs to thebrocade textiles. This Malaysia’s woven treasure can be worn in many ways.‘Sarung’ is when the fabric is stitched together, it forms a bottom worn bywomen. Men wear it as ‘sampin’ which it is wrapped around the waist over thenational attire. It is originally worn by royalty, but then in the 20thcentury, it becomes a Malay ‘public’ outfit mainly for event, ceremonial andformal occasions.
Along time ago, as nature is the nearest exposure of visual, the colours of songket are also imitating the coloursof nature.
“The Laksamana wore yellowtrousers, a bright red satin sarung with network edging, silk waist band withreticulate design on yellow background, greenish-bronze coloured jacket, andrainbow coloured head cloth.” (Syed Ahmad Jamal, 2003)
The description above represents Admiral HangTuah’s look during 15th century in the court of Sultan Mahmud ofMalacca. All shades and tones of yellow are ‘reserved’ only for Sultan androyalty. However, it becomes an exception when the colour are allowed to beworn by the brides during their wedding ceremony. The brides in Malaysiafamiliar with the names of ‘Raja Sehari’ which means 'King and Queen for today'.
‘Songket’ can be turn out in many shades from eachof the wheel colours. Syed Ahmad Jamal stated that red can be in the shade ofguava red, fish red and tamarind red. Yellow in turmeric yellow and clay yellow.Meanwhile, green presents as banana shoot green, parrot green, bamboo green,moss green and turquoise green. Sea blue and sweet blue appears in the shade ofblue. Also, purple in sweet purple. Smockey grey and black is the othercolours.
Inthe North Borneo area, they have been heir with a black hand-woven colour that symbolizes the identity of every particularethnic group. The four main traditional textiles are ‘kain linangkit’, ‘kainmogah’, ‘kain dastar’ and ‘kain pis’. ‘Kain linangkit’ and ‘kain pis’ reflectsthe identity of Rungus, a sub-group of Kadazan-Duzun ethnic group. The twoother textiles, ‘kain dastar’ and ‘kain mogah’ belong to Bajau and Iranun etnicgroups.
The colours of hand-woven have a different meaningfor every context of culture and ethnics. The facts above explains the varieddiversity and exceptional quality of today’s Malaysian textile industry, knownthroughout the world.