December 6, 2011

Food Covers - Brunei Style

CORE FOOD DOME SMALL

The first food cover is the type of rattan food cover most Asians and world travellers are familiar with. The second picture shows my own food cover which was made by the Ibans of Durin . You can easily buy this family size food cover "below the Durin Bridge" of Sibu. I am still using it after more than 30 years. Rattan is a good natural material which lasts.

In Brunei the famous "tudung dulang" or rattan food covers catch the tourists' eye immediately.
These must be the most colourful food covers in Asia!! Today the tudung dulang makers are making more colourful ones than ever because they have better materials to choose from and locals are more affluent.

Tudung means cover in Bahasa Malaysia. Dulang means basin. So this food cover actually means a food cover that looks like a basin.

They are definitely a good buy to bring home after a visit to Brunei as a souvenir. According to a local historian the art of weaving (of rattan/bamboo/mengkuang and biru leaves) may be a dying skill since all girls are going for higher education and very well paid jobs. Only the older generation are now making them (not only as a hobby but for sale) in Kampong Ayer (Water Village). Besides homes are now better equipped and flies are "blocked" out by mosquito netting for the windows. So on one hand the food covers are not so necessary now and on the other hand plastic food covers are conveniently available very cheaply in supermarkets and ordinary supply shops!!

It would be a pity really if the art of tudung dulang disappears from the cultural scene.



Many would think that these are hats hanging from the beams in the Kianggeh Market of Bandar (Darusalam). You can ask if you could have one made to order but it takes time and you might move on to another part of the world. However do not be disappointed if your order is not exactly what you thought you have drawn. The tudung dulang weavers do not specifically use a tape measure or ruler to draw their designs. According to one of them they simply "created" their designs!
Colourful food covers well protected by transparent plastic. I think the heart shaped design is so sweet. This is a more modern concept of "cut and paste". Different from the woven concept. 
Another special design - a lacey one. This one can cover two or three dishes of food.
Smaller individual dish covers are piled up here. These have the traditional patterns and they come in myriads of colours which brighten up your kitchen table.

So why not take back a tudung dulang as a souvenir from Brunei Darusalam? Besides your purchase will not only  help to support the skilled women weavers but to encourage more to continue to uphold an art which needs to be preserved.

6 comments:

Ann said...

my mum had the top one, my younger siblings used to get insdie it and crawl, and we had our turtles.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hahahah!! Ann...yes...the food covers were so versatile as a "toy" for child play!!

My kids loved it too... Turned up it was a good basket for drying of newly washed plates and bowls in the strong sun....(that's my mother's style)

cheers.

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