Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Souvenirs from Malaysia

Most vacationers like to shop for souvenirs on their holidays. These souvenirs make for great gifts for friends and family back home, and also serve as reminders of a wonderful trip. If you are on a sojourn to Malaysia what souvenirs would you choose to take home?
Malaysia is a country that is home to a vibrant multicultural population and this aspect of the country is amply reflected in its rich handicrafts tradition.  Popular Malaysian handicrafts include stunning Batik and Songket textiles, woodcarvings, beaded shoes decorative objects made out pewter and silver and products made from woven rattan, ceramic and glass.
The producers of gorgeous batik textiles, usually use silk or cotton fabric as the base for their attractive designs. Malaysian artisans used to employ two traditional methods to produce Batik textiles, namely the "Tulis or Conteng” method or the “Cap” method. The first method involved the use of a pen filled with hot wax to outline the design on the fabric. Once the outline was made on the fabric the colors were filled in onto the design. The ‘Cap’ method of batik production entailed the application of wax directly onto the cloth.  While deploying this method, the artisans used to work with copper or strips of tin which were already impressed with the design to be produced. These methods have now been replaced by modern silk-screening methods though batik fabrics continue to serve as a popular souvenir from Malaysia. The batik souvenirs from Malaysia take the form of shirts, dresses, sarong, pareos, handbags and soft-furnishings like table mats and cushion covers.
Songket is yet another stunning fabric that is produced in Malaysia. This rich fabric is favored by the Sultans of Malaysia and garments made with songket are usually handed down through generations. The hallmark of songket is its elaborate, richly-hued embroidery. The lush songket fabric can be used to make bow-ties, jackets, vests and stunning evening gowns.
Beaded slippers and Nyonya wares
The Peranakan populations of Malaysia are known for their exquisite embroidery and glass beading skills. They use these skills to create and adorn gorgeous beaded slippers, purses, phone covers, all of which are popular as souvenirs and gifts. Nyonya women traditionally sport a dress known as Sarong Kebaya, a skirt and blouse ensemble which also features much embroidery. The Nyonya sarong kebaya is yet another favored souvenir of visiting tourists.

The production of Pewter became popular in Malaysia during the 19th century when the country was a leading tin-mining nation. Pewter is an alloy produced from the amalgamation of tin and other metals. Royal Selangor Pewter is one of the most well-known producers of Malaysian pewter and it offers a wide array of products fashioned out of pewter like photo frames, card holders, mugs, replicas of popular Malaysian sights, all of which make for great souvenirs and gifts from Malaysia.
Malaysia is home to several indigenous people called Orang Asli who inhabit remote regions of the states of Sabah and Sarawak. These indigenous peoples are known for their intricate wood carvings which are available as souvenirs at most of the arts and crafts centers in major cities in Malaysia.
Malaysian pottery which takes the form of vases, jars and water receptacles is produced in states like Perak and Sarawak. Malaysian pottery is a popular souvenir item.
Forest based fibers
Products made from forest-based fibers like rattan, bamboo, ribu-ribu, pandanus , mengkuang are produced by local artisans and indigenous peoples in various regions of Malaysia. These fibers are intertwined, coiled, woven and plaited to form bags, baskets, mats and various other products, which are appropriate as souvenirs.
These myriad Malaysian souvenirs are available at most arts and crafts outlets all over Malaysia. However, if you are holidaying in Kuala Lumpur, you may want to head to the city’s Central Market, to buy your souvenirs for this expansive emporium offers a platform for artisans from all regions of  Malaysia.

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