Textiles and Identity in Brunei Darussalam

I saw the news of this book when it was launched at UBD while reading BT. I thought that looks like an interesting book to have and I immediately made arrangements to have two copies of the book, then not realising the book costs some $55+ each. However, this book is worth every single penny of that $55+ which I paid for the book.

So, what do you get for $55? First of all, you get a book written by Siti Norkhalbi bte Haji Wahsalfelah, the Deputy Director of Brunei Academic Studies at UBD. She holds a PhD from University of Western Australia and has written extensively on Brunei Darussalam. This 132 pages A4 size book is printed at White Lotus Press in Bangkok. Uh? Why Bangkok? My guess is that the editor wants it published there as this book formed part of an 11 studies series in Material Cultures of Southeast Asia. And it has 75 colour photographs!

This book examined the traditional role textiles have played in modern Brunei. Handwoven textiles are an important of Brunei traditional culture. It examined the types of textiles and the roles that they have played in different situations, such as serving as signifiers of social status, wealth, and political prominence. It also focused on how locally woven textiles have been used to express and construct identity, especially Brunei Malay identity and Bunei national identity. It is a worthwhile book to know more about Brunei. Go and get it.

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