Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Cloths and the Way of Life among Melayu People in Pattani, Thailand in the 18th Century

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Cloths and the Way of Life among Melayu People in Pattani, Thailand in the 18th Century

Article excerpt


The purpose of this research was to investigate Melayu people's way of life through the ways they utilized their cloths. The data of this qualitative research were collected from related documents and research reports, ancient cloths and clothing, and in-depth interviews with cloths owners and weavers.

The research found that in the 18th century Melayu people in Pattani Province used many types of clothing in their life. When women were at home, they wore plain cloths. They used checked cloths to cover the upper part of their body from the breasts down to the waist. When going out, they used Lima cloth and So Kae with a piece of Pla-nging cloth as a headscarf. For men, they wore a checked sarong as a lower garment, and wore no upper garment. However, when going out, they wore Puyo Potong. In addition, Melayu people used cloths in various religious rites, namely, the rite of putting a baby in a cradle, the Masoyawi rite, the Nikah rite, and the funeral rite. These types of cloths were related to the way of life of Melayu people from birth to death. They reflected the race, gender, age, social status, values, and beliefs in traditions that have been inherited.

Keywords: Pattani, Melayu people's way of life, Masoyawi rite, Nikah rite

1. Introduction

The Southern border provinces of Thailand were an area of significant civilization with a long history due to its unique location which was used as a trading port. Moreover, its richness in wild products was sought after by foreigners, and its internal waterways enhanced inter-communal communication (Ismil, 1997). All of these factors made the South of Thailand a major commercial center in Southeast Asia. Trade relations with other countries resulted in cross-cultural interaction between foreign newcomers and the local people (Hall, 1980). An example of the cultural interaction was shown in the cloths used by people in the Malay Peninsula. The people of Pattani, especially the Melayu used many and various kinds of cloths in their daily life, religious rites, and for their beliefs. The influences of foreign cultures such as Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, Khmer, and Arabic have enriched the cultures of the local Melayu people in Pattani and thus weaving patterns, designs, colors, and techniques employed by Melayu people differ from those used by Thais in other regions. The Melayu people's adaptation of the foreign cultures resulted in the uniqueness of their textiles. Regarding the mentioned differences, it could, then be said that this research aims to acquire new knowledge that has never been studied by any previous researchers of Thai cloths.

2. Research Objectives

To explore cloths used in Melayu people's lives in Pattani, Thailand in the 18th century.

3. Research Methodology

This study is a survey and analytical research, in which information was analyzed using historical and experimental research methods. The research procedure was as follows:

The study areas consisted of Cha Bang Tiko Sub-district, Mueang District, Phiten Sub-district, Thung Yang Daeng District, A-ching Sub-district, Kotabaru Sub-district, and Raman District, all in Pattani Province. These areas were locations for palaces where rulers lived. When rulers died, their garments were distributed among their children, grandchildren and relatives who continue preserving them.

1) The informants were 30 people consisting of experts, owners of ancient cloths in Pattani Province.

2) Data from related documents, interviews, and different kinds of cloths used by Melayu people in Pattani were gathered.

3) Historical methods were implemented to analyze the gathered data.

4. Scope of the Study

The researcher chose the concepts and beliefs in traditions in Na Thalang (1997), and modernization theory of Eisenstadt (1966) as instruments for describing phenomena in the use of cloths in Melayu people's way of life in Pattani in the 18th century, which had changed, because the society at that time was still underdeveloped and changing or transforming to modern society. …

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