Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) will highlight the famous wood masks produced by the Mah Meri tribe from the Carey Island as one of the country’s handicraft products.
Kraftangan Malaysia Selangor branch craft designer Suzita Mohd Sawi said the masks had been adapted into various products including bookmarks and refrigerator magnets.
She said that the Mah Meri tribe carvers and Kraftangan Malaysia designers collaborated during the recent production laboratory session held in Kampung Sungai Bumbun, Carey Island.
Five products produced by the carvers and designers involved in the session are on sale for both the domestic and international markets. Suzita said the production of these craft products could create job opportunities as well as to generate side income for this Orang Asli community on the island.
It is said that the Mah Meri carvers have been widely regarded as one of the best mask makers and woodcarvers in the world, with many of their crafts received the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Seal of Excellence.
The unique masks have become an important symbol used in this Orang Asli community’s ritual ceremonies, including worshiping their ancestors’ spirits and treating diseases that inflicted the community.
Various unique and intricate carving such as the ones featured on the Moyang Pengkol and Moyang Bojos masks gave the products their own distinctive characteristics.
She also said that the Johor Craft Festival this year will see a display of craft products, painstakingly crafted from the durable mangrove wood known as nyireh batu, a red, rare mangrove hardwood from the mahogany family.
The Mah Meri community also produced costume jewelry from colorful pandan weaving as well as the eco print shawl using leaves from trees found on Carey Island. She added that the Mah Meri’s handiwork will also compete against 1,400 other new products in the Malaysian Good Design Award to boost the VMY2020.
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