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April 5, 2010

Posted by asianpixmen in Craft, Culture, Malaysia, People, Places.
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Sometimes in my wanderings in search for the holy grail in the realm of blades, I come across a few surprises.

Take for example, the above. I have never seen such blades but I did, at a recent public exhibition of local Malaysian handicraft.

These short knives are from Kelantan. Yes, they bear the marks of a persistent hammer and the jerky hand movements of the maker who spent one too many hours at his work shop.

But each streak of the grinder on the sharpened Jeep spring is testimony of a man who takes pride in his work. The longer-than-usual hand, made from fine-looking wood, is comfortable in my roughened hands.

There is a certain feeling that is undescribable when a man puts a work of art in his hands. It is an unspoken relationship that tells the handler that “yes, this is me,  I have met my new owner.”

It may sound corny but ask any blade collector who has handled a beautiful handiwork and he will wax lyrical about the amalgam of wood and steel forged in fire.

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April 5, 2010

Posted by asianpixmen in Activities, Craft, Culture, Malaysia, People, Places.
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Many Malaysians are ignorant of the beauty of batik. A lot of people think of clothes when batik is mentioned. Actually, batik’s beauty has been seen in paintings and in other forms of artwork.

Here we have batik used as pictures to decorate the interior of a house or a hall. The beauty of batik is accentuated when it is hung against a background where sunlight is allowed full play.

Sometimes, you need a helping hand from nature to see the beauty of a batik print.

April 5, 2010

Posted by asianpixmen in Craft, Culture, Malaysia, Places.
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People in general have a certain fascination with sharpened tools. Without exception are the traditional Malay weapons. In the old days, as we call it, the knives you see before you, were normally used for agricultural purposes.

Modern times have caught up with society, so there’s very much less reliance on these tools anymore. In long decades past, the lawi ayam was used as a agricultural tool, mainly for pruning palm fronds or rattan.

Of course, in some circles the lawi ayam also goes by its other name, kerambit. It also has another more sinister purpose. The goloks in the foreground as beautiful works of art.

Collectors search up and low throughout Peninsular Malaysia for a collector’s golok whose traits are excellent metal work, beautiful engravings and superb finishing.

All these qualities add up to a hefty bill for the collector and a great return for the blademaker.

April 5, 2010

Posted by asianpixmen in Craft, Culture, Malaysia.
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Malaysian knife makers are usually of retiring nature. One could even say they are shy. So it is a surprise and delight when one comes across them selling their wares at a public expo.

This maker who is quite proud to display his creations awaits customers and their questions. But we all know this is a dying profession. Not many young people want to pursue this line of work.

It all comes down to easy money and less manual labour. Youngsters or sons of knifemakers complain incessantly of long hours and poor and slow financial returns.

Blades from Sabah April 5, 2010

Posted by asianpixmen in Miscellaneous.
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Sabah across the South China China, in East Malaysia, has some of the finest knife makers in the Land Below the Wind.

Here are just some of the samples that were sold during the Malaysian National Craft Expo held in March 2010.

The beauty lies in the grain of the wood. The blade when unsheath is a work of art that involved long hours of manual labour.

Yes, they are not as precise and as clinical as those made by machines but each hammer blow, each “flaw” detected by the human eye is but another facet of its character and it tells the man behind the blade.