Mat weaving is a heritage legacy of Terengganu. At present, not many people know how to weave. Recently, during the International Squid Jigging Festival organized by Tourism Terengganu, I had the opportunity to try my hands on mat weaving.
Terengganu Malay women are famous for their fineness of weaving and variety of the weaving patterns. In old days, a woman would be considered poorly prepared for her “debutante” into womanhood. It is not wrong to say, the patience in mat weaving would help develop the character and personality of the young woman.
There are two types of leaves used for mat weaving which are the pandanus (pandan) and screwpine (mengkuang) leaves. The difference between the two is the quality of the mat woven; the pandanus leaves are more delicate, easier to shape and more lasting than mat woven from screwpine leaves. There is always a leaf known as kerecut used to weave.
The process of mat weaving is as follows:-
The designs are inspired by flowers and other natural elements. For example, kelarai and ragi are named and shaped after flowers. Some of the traditional designs still in use today are Kelarai Pucuk Rebung, Kelarai Bunga Melur, Kelarai Tapak Harimau, Kelarai Sisik Ikan, Kelarai Siku Keluang, Kelarai Bunga Cina, Kelarai Bunga Cengih and Kelarai Jari Kedidi.
The whole process of weaving a mat takes between ten to fifteen days depending on the size and expertise of its weaver.
Yours truly trying to weave the mat.
Voila, the end products.
The visit to Pengkalan Gelap, Setiu to observe traditional mat weaving heritage was made possible by Terengganu State Government and Gaya Travel Magazine during the Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival 2014 from 11th-17th April 2014.