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Design Structure & Pattern Arrangements (Part 2)

Songket patterns may be categorized in a number of ways.

Generally they may be classified into seven main types of patterns:

  1. Songket bunga penuh (overall or full pattern)
  2. Songket bunga bertabur (spotted or scattered pattern)
  3. Songket corak berjalur (stripes)
  4. Songket corak berdiri (vertical stripes)
  5. Songet corak melintang (horizontal stripes)
  6. Songket corak siku keluang (chevron)
  7. Songket corak tapak catur (checks)
  8. Songket corak pucuk rebung (bamboo shoot pattern)
  9. Tepi kain (border pattern)

In a full-patterned songket (songket bunga penuh) one of the popular motifs is the corak teluk berantai which means bays or l agoons along the coastline or curves in rivers. This particular ornamentation is produced by dividing up the area to be decorated into three main parts: the Teluk (bays) which are made up of rhomboids, squares, octagonal and ogees that are filled with floral motifs; the Rantai or the linked chains which enclose the bays; and the intersections of the chains. This pattern is normally used in the main part of the cloth or badan kain, and is usually filled with gold thread.

This full-patterned songket is usually set against a dark background colour of black, scarlet or dark blue where these patterns are beautifully enhanced. The main motifs in the teluk berantai pattern are sometimes bold and sometimes small. Among the popular ones are: bunga tiga dara (three maidens), bunga tampuk buah kesemak (corolla of the persimmon fruit), bunga tampuk manggis (corolla of mangosteen) and bunga mahkota raja (the ruler's crown).

In the rantai or chain section the main motifs are: rantai bunga bintang (a chain of stars), rantai bunga cengkih (a chain of cloves), rantai unduk-unduk (a chain of sea-horses), rantai jagung (a chain of maize) rantai bunga pecah empat (a chain of four-petalled flowers) and rantai bunga cermai (a chain of the cermai fruit).

In Other full-patterned songkets have a type of motif which is repeated all over the main section of the fabric. Among the more well-known ones are named after Malay cakes and sweetmeats such as bunga potong wajik, bunga tepung talam, bunga madu manis, bunga potong putu, and bunga ladu. Most of these are diamond -shaped motifs of different sizes and variations. Other popular motifs are: unduk-unduk which is a diagonal S-shape resembling a sea-horse and when these motifs are linked together they form a chain pattern called rantai unduk-unduk; bunga bogan or cogan which was once popular among royalty as it depicts a mace with an emblem to symbolise authority; and bunga mahkota raja (the ruler's crown) which is a cluster of four flowers and four leaves facing outwards.

In a scattered-patterned songket (corak bertabur) repeated motifs are used to produce a beautiful overall coverage of the fabric. The choice of motifs, their size and combination, and manner of repeat, in squares, half drops, one-third drops or quarter drops, combine to produce a well-balanced pattern of visual beauty. These scattered motifs are usually found in the badan kain area or main part of the fabric. The golden threaded motifs are usually enhanced by contrasting them with cloth of a darker shade. Some of the popular motifs of this grouping are: the tampuk manggis, a rhomboid-shaped centre surrounded by eight petals arranged closely together, reminiscent of the five to eight lobes at the bottom of the mangosteen fruit; the tampuk buah kesemak a motif that has been stylized in many fascinating variations though flowers of four or eight short rounded petals linked together predominate; the tampuk kecupu (similar but smaller than tampuk manggis); the bunga pecah empat (a four-petalled flower); the bunga melur (jasmine flower); bunga cendawan (the mushroom motif); bunga buah cermai (stylized form of a fruit); bunga biji perla (seeds of the bitter gourd); bunga cengkih (cloves); bunga tanjung (a tiny sweet-scented flower); bunga pitis (a square-shaped Kelantanese coin); bunga sinar matahari (flower of sunshine); bunga bintang (an eight-petalled flower); bunga bintang beralih (a large star of eight-rays with a smaller motif in the centre, decorated with a clove motif at its sides) and bunga pecah empat (a four-petalled flower of no specific name) used as fillers between other motifs in the badan kain (main part of the cloth) and kepala kain (panel of the cloth) areas.

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