W A K I D
The wakid is a multipurpose bamboo basket made by the Dusun people of the Ranau and Tambunan districts. Worn on the back, wakids were traditionally used by farmers to carry fruits, firewood, vegetables and paddy stalks to leave the hands free to carry lighter items. Wakids are made in many sizes; it takes 2-3 days to complete one large wakid and 1 day for a small one. Nowadays, the wakid has been adapted for more commercial use and craftsmen make useful wakid-shaped items such as pen and pencil holders as well as vases for dried flowers; decorative items are also made.
B E A D S
Bead (Manik) made in Sabah include traditional ornamental items such as headdresses, necklaces, bracelets and bangles; these are all produced by stringing together colourful beads. Depending on the cultural background of the indigenous people who make them, the stringing patterns and uses of the bead products differ. Other colourful bead products such as keychains and pen-holders are also now made for the tourist market. Making bead products has become a lucrative cottage industry in Sabah’s rural areas, especially Rungus community of Kudat.
K A I N M U G A H / K A I N D A S T A R ( H A N D W O V E N C L O T H )
The handwoven KAIN DASTAR or Dastar Cloth and KAIN MUGAH or Mugah Cloth are indigenous to the Bajau and Iranun community in the Kota Belud district and they still use the body tension or the back-strap loom with continuous warp.
I) Kain Dastar usually has bright colours and gold metallic threads inlaid as tapestry to enhance the richness of the fabric. The normal size of 76 cm square takes at least three weeks to a month to complete.
II) The Kain Mugah normally has a length of about 8 to 12 feet. It has various designs with colourful and attractive patterns.
This cloth is used mainly to decorate the sitting room during wedding celebrations and other festive occasions.
L E P A - L E P A
The Lepa-lepa boat is a very important means of transportation and communication among the Bajau Kubang and Bajau Palaoo, residing along the coast and several islands off Semporna, Lahad Datu and Sandakan. The livelihood of the Bajau Kubang and Bajau Palaoo is mainly dependent on the sea. Lepa-lepa is used for all sea activities, such as fishing, transportation and communication as well. For the Bajau Palaoo, Lepa-lepa is used as their dwelling. A big Lepa-lepa boat has a maximum width 7 feet and 18 feet in length. Lepa-lepa is smaller compared to the lepa pasil or Sapit boat. The Tambu-Tambu wood is the main wood used in making lepa-lepa apart from Mata-Mata and Gangil. This wood is suitable because it is light, withstands dampness and can be easily obtained. A completed Lepa-lepa is decoratively carved. The designs are base on the motifs of plants namely the Kembang Tuli or Dahan and Kellong designs.
P A R A N G B A J A U
The Parang has traditionally been crafted by the Bajaus from Kota Belud area from a long time back. The ones made by them these days are usually from scrap iron which goes through a process of melting, pounding shaping and finally polishing. The blades are straight and tapered, from a sharp tip have patterns etched into the metal along the top side. The hilt and sheath are carved out of wood, but occasionally one can still come across an antique Parang with a wonderfully carved hilts of horn. In days gone by, the Parang was used as a weapon as well as a work tool, but these days it is mainly a decorative item for display.
R I N A G O G R O U P
The Rinago group of woven baskets and trays are the specialties of the Rungus community. These baskets are made from two local materials namely, Lingkong and Lias. The coil is made from Lias. Lingkong is used to bind the coils together and forming handicrafts in different shapes, designs and sizes to suit a variety of household uses. These local materials are not treated with dyes so as to maintain their natural fine glossy finish.
G O N G S
Gongs form the backbone of Sabah’s music. They are part of most musical ensembles and are used for nearly every social event. The number of instruments played together varies from community to community. During a gong beating session, drums are also played to accentuate the main rhythm's. The gongs are found in all parts of the state and are highly valued. They are also used as bride wealth, for animistic religious ceremonies, signaling and harvest festivals. Gongs are also recently made locally in Kudat by the Rungus people. These have a shallow rim and small boss. Such gongs are made from galvanized iron sheet which is also purchased locally. The more popular gong with its thick walls, deep rim and large boss, is imported from the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.
M U R U T C R A F T W O R K F R O M R A T T A N A N D B A M B O O
Perhaps one of the earliest people of Sabah to use rattan and bamboo for their daily use are the Muruts of Sabah. The designs and skills used in making these baskets may have had their origin in a neolithic technique developed in mainland South East Asia thousands of years ago which have been preserved and unchanged to this day. The Buyung (Murut for basket) is handcrafted by Murut women of Sabah. Buyung is used as a container for carrying crops like rice, edible jungle products and personal belongings. The climbing stem of rattan and a certain type of bamboo (Simbutuon) are two type of jungle plants used for making such basket. Generally the designs on Murut basket are simple interpretations of plants and animals with which the Murut people are familiar. They used traditional dyes from river clay, rambutan leaves (Nephelium Lappaceum Linn) for mat black colour, wood of the Sepang (Caesalpinia Sappan) tree and the widely famous Morinda or Mengkudu tree for the red colour.
K E L A R A I H A N D I C R A F T S
Kelarai handicrafts that consist of multipurpose basket, placemats and trays are made by the Dusun Minokok community from Kampung Batu Lunguyan, Sook in the district of Keningau. The community has for many generations weaved their own unique handicraft products which include the Sirung (native hat), tikar (mat), and nyiru (tray). To suit the trends of our contemporary society, the women have come up with a new line products which now include baskets, handbags, coasters, fruit bowls and many more. The handicrafts are made mostly from bamboo stalks, rattan or the Selingkawang.
S E R D A N G H A N D I C R A F T S
These colorful Serdang handicrafts are unique to the Bajau people of Kota Belud, Sabah. Thin metal plates and Nipah leaves are used to construct the main body. Then, different colored Serdang pasted and sewn onto the body to complete the product. Decorative and handy, they make great storage for any living space or to pack your gifts, giving it a truly Sabahan touch.