KUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin today officiated the Secrets of Kebaya Exhibition at the National Textile Museum, here.

The exhibition, organised by the National Unity Ministry in collaboration with the Department of Museums Malaysia (JMM), opened its doors to the public on Oct 19 and will continue until Dec 31. The showcase highlights the uniqueness, elegance, and diversity of the kebaya, representing a significant aspect of Malaysia’s national heritage.

Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin also graciously loaned a set of her long kebaya made from the Royal Pahang Weave (Tenun Pahang Diraja), gifted to her by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

The Selangor kebaya is adorned with golden embroidery featuring the bunga tanjung (Spanish cherry) motif that breaks into nine sections intricately crafted on both the blouse and sarong. This design represents the nine districts of the state and is complemented by a yellow shawl adorned with gemstones.

The kebaya was created by renowned fashion designer Datuk Radzuan Radziwill. Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin donned this attire to mark the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafudin Idris Shah’s 75th birthday celebration held at the Alam Shah Palace in Selangor on Nov 27, 2021.

Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin also spent about an hour visiting the Saindera Gallery to admire 60 exquisite kebayas owned by JMM and borrowed items from exhibition collaborators before signing the guestbook.

Meanwhile, the National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Aro Dagang said the exhibition aims to support the government’s role and efforts in elevating and promoting kebaya under the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and Cultural Heritage of Humanity lists.

He said Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand are involved in a joint kebaya nomination bid for inclusion in the UNESCO lists.

“The nomination began in January 2022 and was meticulously finalised before being submitted to UNESCO in March. The decision will be finalised during the 19th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage next year,“ he told reporters after the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which aims to draw 10,000 visitors.

Aaron hopes that the joint nomination will succeed in gaining recognition, thereby promoting and celebrating the richness of historical heritage and fostering cross-cultural understanding among the five countries. -Bernama

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