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CULTURAL AND HERITAGE IN KELANTAN

Cultural Centre
Located on Jalan Mahmud close to the Perdana Hotel, the cultural centre is a veritable showcase of the living heritage of Kelantan. Demonstrations of popular folk arts and pastimes are held daily. Wayang Kulit (shadow puppetry) shows, Silat (the Malay art of selfdefence) performances, Gasing (top spinning) displays, Wau (kite flying) and Rebana (Giant Drum) playing can all be seen at the centre. In the evenings, visitors can see cultural performances featuring traditional Malay music and Wayang Kulit. The cultural centre is open three times a week from March to October.

The Istana Batu (Brick/Stone Palace) was constructed in 1939 during the reign of Sultan Ismail. It houses the Royal Museum and was previously used as the venue for royal weddings and as a guest house for visiting royalty. The Royal Museum now serves as a repository for the history of the Kelantan royal family and displays regalia, pictures, silverware, furniture and palace items of former Sultans.

Originally constructed in 1911, Bank Kerapu is now a repository for documents, pictures and military paraphernalia of the Japanese Occupation from 1941 to 1945. During the war, the building served as the headquarters of the Japanese Kempetai, the feared secret police.

Built by Sultan Muhammad II in 1840, the Istana Balai Besar was formerly the residence of past Sultans. However, it is now used solely as a venue for official state functions. The palace boasts a large audience hall, a throne room and a fine collection of royal regalia.

Built in 1887 by Sultan Mohamad II for his grandson, Long Kundur, the Istana Jahar has been transformed into a museum featuring Kelantan's cultural heritage.Photographs and a great variety of

artefacts bear testimony to the rich Kelantanese cultural legacy. The building itself is laced with intricate wood carvings, serving as an example of the fine craftsmanship of local artisans.

The Islamic Museum traces the history of Islam in Kelantan. Exhibits include Islamic arts and crafts and photographs of some of the personal belongings of Prophet Muhammad and Islamic historical sites. The museum reflects not only the importance of Islam in Kelantan but also the position of the state as a centre of Islamic learning. Merdeka Square Other interesting sites in Kota Bharu include Merdeka (Independence) Square, State Government offices and floating raft houses along the river banks.

While the Craft Museum houses many fine examples of Kelantanese craftsmanship, the adjacent Handicraft Village provides visitors the chance to see just how these crafts are made. Demonstrations of traditional embroidery, songket weaving, batik printing, silver work and wood carving are carried out by skilled artisans. Their products are also on sale at the centre.

The State Museum, located along Jalan Hospital, incorporates the State Art Gallery. The building itself was used as the land office from colonial times until 1990 when major renovations were carried out to convert it into a museum. The museum documents the arts, crafts and musical traditions of Kelantan. Ceramic displays testify to the early trade with China and artefacts from local archaeological sites provide evidence of the existence of the pre-historic civilisation in Kelantan.

Wayang Kulit is a popular shadow puppet show in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, especially those in Kelantan and Terengganu, and also in Johor. The origin of the theatre is still remained a mistery, but it was brought to Malaya hundreds of years ago.Wayang Kulit is a very unique form of theatre employing the principle of light

and shadow. The puppets are crafted from buffalo hide and mounted on bamboo sticks. When held up behind a piece of white cloth, with an electric bulb or an oil lamp as the light source, shadows are cast on the screen. Wayang Kulit plays are invariably based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics, "The Mahabarata" and "The Ramayana". Some of the plays are also based on local happenings (current issues) or other local secular stories. It is up to the conductor or "Tok Dalang" to decide his direction. The Tok Dalang is the genius behind the entire performance. It is he who sits behind the screen and narrates the story. With a traditional orchestra in the background to provide a resonant melody and its conventional rhythm, the Tok Dalang modulates his voice to create suspense thus heightening the drama. Invariably, the play climaxes with the triumph of good over evil.

Wau bulan is an intricately designed Malaysian moon-kite (normally with floral motifs) that is traditionally flown by men in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. It is one of Malaysia's national symbols, some others being the kris and hibiscus. The reverse side of the fifty-cent coin of Malaysia (1989 series) features an intricately- decorated wau bulan with a hummer on top[1]. The logo of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is all based on this kite.There are many types of wau in Malaysia, each with its own specialty. Wau kucing(cat kite) and wau merak (peacock kite) are some of the variants.

Characteristics
Wau bulan got its name from the crescent moon-like shape of its lower section (bulan means "moon" in Bahasa Malaysia). Given the right colour, wau bulan apparently resembles a rising crescent moon when flown.[2] The size of wau bulan is bigger than any other Malaysian traditional kite. The typical size is 2.5 meters in width and 3.5 meters in length.[3]. This makes the decorations painted on the kite's body to be visible when it is flown high in the air. To make it more distinctive, wau bulan is normally decorated with large, strong-coloured patterns.

Kite Making
Kelantan is the home of giant kites that soar through the air with nary a care in the world. Kite-flying usually takes place after the harvest when farmers have time on their hands to fashion and fly these wau. There are many different types wau kuching (cat kite), wau merak (peacock kite), wau bulan (moon kite) to name a few. Kite-making requires tremendous skill and patience. The art is usually handed down from father to son. Along the road to Pantai Cahaya Bulan, there are many such establishments producing these gaily-decorated kites. These establishments can be reached by boarding Bus No. 10 in front of the New Central Market.

Wau Museum In Bachok

BACHOK: Kelantan, home of the country's traditional kites or wau, will finally get its own kite museum next year. State Local Government, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said it would be housed temporarily in a government quarters until a permanent building was constructed. "We felt is appropriate that a kite museum be built in the state as the wau is well known locally and internationally. It will be able to attract visitors as there are many kite fans around the world. "Bachok has been chosen to house the museum as it will be the new permanent site for the annual Kelantan International Kite Festival. "The wau will also become the district's icon and used widely to promote Bachok," he said after the closing of the Kelantan Invitational Kite Festival at Pantai Irama here on Sunday. Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob represented Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat at the ceremony. Takiyuddin said the museum would showcase the many types of wau from the state, besides kites and accessories from all over the world. "We have many wau enthusiasts who are keen to hand their collections to the museum." On the kite festival at Pantai Irama, Takiyuddin said it was not opened to participants from other countries this year as it was held for the first time there and the organisers were uncertain of the infrastructure and other facilities. "Even though it was not opened to international participants, we managed to attract nearly 300 people from all over the country. "However, we hope to organise it on a grander scale next and extend our invitation overseas. Last year, we managed to attract participants from 20 countries," he said.Kelantan emerged overall champion in the four day competition which started on July 15.

Gasing or tops spinning, is a traditonal games popular among Malay(Native people). Especially amongst the villagers in the State of Kelantan and Melaka. Each season after the rice harvest,several villagers will come together to challenge each other in an ultimate test of skill. The villagers believed that the spinning tops would help bring good harvest. Both adults and children can play the game. But bigger or giant top spinning is more of a games for adult than children. the one used by adults are much bigger in size and can spin for a period of time whereas the one played by kids are much smaller. Gasing or top spinning is split into two(2) categories. One is for ornamental purposes and while the other is for playing.

Sparring Contest
A Gasing or top spinning contest as far that I know basically a friendly games. The event that follow are normally have two (2) kinds of matches. The first is the "spinning contest" and the second one is called the "striking match". The "Spinning contest", the one who can spin his top for the longest time wins the match. Once the top has been launched, the top is carefully scooped off the ground using a thin wooden bat. It will then be transferred to a little wooden surface and left to spin for as long as possible. The trick here is to ensure that the top doesn't topple during the transit. Tough as it may seem and unbelievably so, the current record stands at two hours.

Songket - "Malaysia's Cloth of Gold". Kain Songket is an extremely rich and lustrous ceremonial fabric. hand-woven in silk or cotton, it is intricately patterned in gold or sometimes silver threads. The making of the internationally renowned items remains as one of leading cottage industries in Kelantan. At Kampung Penambang, about 4km from Kota Bharu, there are several famous silk-weaving workshops manged by royal weavers.

Batik and Songket Centre

Songket, aptly dubbed Malaysias cloth of gold, is a proud legacy of the Kelantan and Pattani courts. Only 4km north of Kota Bahru at Kampung Penambang is a songket weaving factory. Here silk material is woven with gold and silver thread.Originally the silk material came from Thailand while the gold and silver threads were imported from India .

once strictly reserved for royalty, songket is now used for ceremonial occasions and weddings. The use of songket material was once reserved for royalty but now it is used for ceremonical occasions and weddings.

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