BIDAYUH HANDICRAFT: the masters of bamboo carving


From containers to kitchenware, flooring to fans and pipes, bamboo is used in a thousand ways in Sarawak. The variety of its uses is matched only by the diversity of the designs and carvings.

The Bidayuh people are masters of bamboo carving, they produce very fine boxes and containers that may have been designed to hold betel nut or blowpipe darts, but are just as good for storing pens and pencils.

pintar buloh bamboo IQ puzzle

Those playable flutes are made from bamboo and are played by both men and women. The upper third of the flute is decorated with buti dawe tiko (edible fern shoot motifs), using the bamboo whittling technique.

pratuokng, pintar buloh bamboo IQ puzzle

As Pratuokng is considered a lead instrument, it can be played solo. When playing in an ensemble, few players would be playing the Pratuokng, accompanied by other players with other instruments, such as Gaduok and Sritakng.

kiromboi,pintar buloh bamboo IQ puzzlepintar buloh bamboo IQ puzzle

Made using a pair of edible kiromboi paddy snail shells and played with a bamboo stick, such rainmakers are based on a local legend where a prolonged drought was ended when frog like calls were played en-masse.

ka-be ,lidded bamboo baskets

Very thin strips of buru or pasak bamboo are used for these fine, lidded baskets. There are several basket forms but only a handful weavers. Some baskets include patterns interwoven with painted strips.

pintar buloh bamboo IQ puzzle

An IQ-puzzle based on an old fashioned weighing scale, this highly ornamented puzzle is believed to have originated from outside Kg. Pichin. The object of the game is to move the pieces from one side to another.

tara simpot bamboo blowpipe dart casing. These were traditionally used to hold mate darts which were paired together with a simpot wooden blowpipe. These modified containers are now elaborately decorated with buti designs.

Source: Malaysia Design Archive, Crafts of the Bidayuh, Written by Reita Rahim of Gerai OA.