WIT Press

Allegorical Narratives: Redefining The Evolution Of Ornamented Aesthetic Principles Of Langkasukan Art Of The Malay Peninsula, Malaysia


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1 - 9




1,798 kb

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WIT Press


Sabariah Ahmad Khan


The origin of the Malay motif of Langkasuka was believed to encrust in all forms of art objects as early as from the 2nd century AD. The Langkasukan ornamentation which embodies the surface articulation of artefacts enfolds the historical construction of its indigenous culture and ethnicity. With close embedded intention, the Langkasukan ornamentations signify the relationship and graphic expression based on national artistry, racial, creativity, technical skill and religious cultural properties. The Langkasukan motif, characterised by a spiral formulation derived from Hinduism–Buddhism is attributed through a process of modification and stylistic transformation by the artisans and craftsmen of the east coast of Malaysia. Through the web of influences from varied aesthetic sources generated through polity, migration, trade and commerce, a distinctive character in the composition of the patterns deem a rebirth of vernacular aesthetic principles contributing to an embracement of stylistic methodology, present to this day. The principles of Malay art decoded the hermeneutics adaptation and application.

The paper attempts to present an analytical study of 100 Malay artefacts ranging from weaponry, woodcarving, puppetry and illuminated manuscripts. The studies would narrate the descriptive nature of the hybrid patterns and manifestations of the early 1800s, with the infusion of Islamic and the abstract norm of animism, Buddhist iconographic symbols overlapping with Hindu traditional motifs and a twist of local flavour. The analysis would reveal an even pattern of distribution of artistic ingenuity in terms of design, form and compositional structure. The aesthetic details vary testimony to the artisans’ altered innovation governed by function, status and ownership.


Langkasuka, ornaments, arts, aesthetic