Songket Symbolism
  Artistry & Technical Exploration

In A third group of patterns is the corak berjalur which is the striped of banded group of patterns. In this group are the vertical weft stripe (corak melintang) and the horizontal weft stripe (corak berdiri). A fourth group of patterns used in songket is the chevron pattern or corak siku keluang a zig-zag structured motif which is often found on the badan kain and sometimes in the kepala kain. Songket woven with checked patterns or corak petak catur or tapak catur resemble the squares on a chestboard. The corak beragi and the corak Bugis are member motifs of this group.

The sixth group and a very interesting one is the corak pucuk rebung (bamboo shoot), a pattern regarded by many as one of the most dominant and well-known of songket patterns. This isosceles triangle-shaped motif is a symbol of fertility. It is usually employed on the kepala kain and contrasts with the motifs of the badan kain. The popularity of the pucuk rebung can be gauged by its appearance not only on songket sarong or samping (men's short sarong wrapped around the waist) but are also seen on waistbands (bengkung) and at both ends of the selendang (stole) and kain panjang (long shawl). Among the more popular pucuk rebung is the pucuk rebung lawi ayam a motif that looks like a flower with a long stem supported by a bunch of leaves or 'feathers' on either side. The pucuk rebung berjuang is any such motif so arranged that their pointed ends meet at the centre of the kepala kain.

The last group of patterns is the tepi kain or border patterns that run along the selvages of the fabric. It acts as the border intersection of a sarong or selendang (stole). Some of the motifs thaiserve to decorate these borders are: kendik tali (twisted rope of S or Z shapes), bunga kerawang (tendrils), gigi yu (shark's teeth), pagar istana (palace fencing) and awan larat (trailing clouds).

These are some of the more infinite variety observed in the songket. Over a hundred motifs have been handed down from weaver to weaver over the ages. Although a few modern ones have been created and interwoven sporadically in the fabric of the weaver's world, yet the beauty, harmony and magnificence of the traditional ones still and will reign supreme on the songket that adorns royalty and the common people, and also those who have developed a love for the 'queen of handwoven fabrics'.



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