Malaysia is blessed with bountiful timber species of various strengths, characteristics, and qualities. Some of the finest Malaysia woods recognised globally are jati (teak), Nyatah, meranti, Merbau, Kerunding, Mahogany, and Oak.
Furniture’s, wall panels, sculpture, bowls and decorative items for gifts are fashioned for today’s market demand including boat production.
Pulau Duyung in the East Coast State of Terengganu boasted of incredible craftsmanship of not using nails the art of producing sailing boats and traditional boats. Well known in the international maritime circle as being the best sailing boat makers in the world their incredible craftsmanship and carpentry are exceptional even by European standards.
Traditional woodcarving has a special place in Malay society. The unique attraction of palaces and old houses lies in the decorated carved frames found on walls, doors, and windows. Either in the form of reliefs or cut out carvings, using various knives and chisels, the wood is chiseled, whittled, cut, gouged, scraped and carved before being polished with the Mempelas leaf.
Today, woodcraft with new shapes and designs has been introduced with traditional concepts adapted, blended and improved to suit modern needs. Tree barks are used to fashion bags files, shoes, wall decorations, as well as room dividers. Discarded woods are fashioned into bowls and flat dishes. When combined with silver craft or pewter, they make beautiful collector’s items as well as corporate gifts.
In peninsular Malaysia, aborigines from the Mah Meri and Jat Hut tribes produce carved figurines and masks linked with their religious beliefs. The Kayan, Kenyah Melanau and Iban tribes of Sarawak in the East Malaysia creat decorative carvings of both utilitarian and religious objects.