Origin of Baju Melayu

Someone asked in the comment box - "Spartan Rookie: Salam, wondering where we got started with our traditional pakaian melayu."

I don't really know. I know that in ancient Chinese history, there was a description of what Bruneians wore about 700 to 800 years ago. It was not the traditional pakaian melayu which we wore today. Incidentally Dr Siti Norkhalbi, the Director of Brunei Studies Academy did a study on this. It's published in her book entitled "Textiles and Identity in Brunei Darussalam" but this is focused more on the kain tenunan.

I checked the internet and pahang-delights.com has kindly prepared the answer to the above as follows:-



What is Baju Melayu?

Baju Melayu is the general reference to the traditional Malay costume for men and it is said that the style has been in existence since the 15th Century. Actually it has two specific style names, the Baju Kurung Cekak Musang and the Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga. [BR note: There is a third style especially for Brunei traditional dress though this is hardly seen nowadays. The Brunei style has a handkerchief or a piece of cloth attached where the buttons are.]

The man widely acknowledged as the creator of the male Baju Melayu, and the person who first popularized it in the 15th Century in the Malacca Sultanate is Tun Hassan Temenggong, the son of Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Mutahir.

The Malacca Empire was enjoying its heydays during the 15th to early 16th Century until the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. It was the strongest empire in the region then stretching from Sumatra in the south to Thailand in the north, and was a center of entreport trade, with traders from India, China, Middle East and Europe coming and sailing to trade there.

With the influx of foreigners to Malacca, they also brought with them their own fashion styles. These eventually influenced the Malay attire, which combined the flowing loose fitting styles (robes) of the Arabs and Indians, trousers and pants of the Mongols and Turks, with the simplicity and elegance of the Europeans. And the Malay Baju Melayu was born.


What was the Malay men’s attire during the Malacca Sultanate?

Well, it was said that Malay men during the Malacca Empire in the 15th Century, wore rather simple attire.

The clothes they wore were said to be short sleeved and tight fitting. The shirt is basically a tunic, and the pants are cut in the style of the "gunting Aceh", that is, a little tight and ending at the middle of the lower leg.

This design and cut of the Malay men’s attire can be seen today, and is the usual wear of silat exponents during silat performances.


And what are the changes Tun Hassan Temenggong made to the Malay attire then to warrant him to be known as the creator of the present Baju Melayu?

Well, Tun Hassan Temenggong was the person who first extended the over-all length of the men’s shirt dress down to the length of the arms. At the same time, he made them very loose-fitting, with the shirt dress widening downwards.

He also lengthened the sleeves of the shirt to the wrists, and widened the end of the sleeves of the shirts to make it loose fitting. The cut ensured that the shirt sleeves could be folded up to the arms, when desired. This is useful when taking meals, for instance.

And this cut and style of Baju Melayu remain with some slight variations until today, and considered as the traditional costume for the Malay men.

Although there are slight variations in the costume, such as the neck design of the Teluk Belanga (Johore) style, the over-all simple cut and design of the Cekak Musang style, however, remains true to the Baju Melayu style pioneered by Tun Hassan Temenggong.

This rather abrupt change or difference on the design attire for Malay men pioneered by Tun Hassan Temenggong was recorded in the Malay Annals or "Sejarah Melayu".



Muhamad Najib said…
Asalamualaikum, daripada pengurusan legacy1985.blogspot.com ingin mengucapkan selamat menyambut hari raya. maaf zahir dan batin...
tun teja said…
..im curious of the cara melayu we had decades back yg ada mcm extra kain like sapu tangan at the front part of the cara melayu.. apa function nya kan tu? Mun sapu tangan kamah tia baju.. pesen ala cravat style melayu? hehe.
and also some male gamis also have those tali at the front with small tassles at the ends.. cali ah?
and sir congrats on the third series of the collection, and cant wait to get hold of then..
selamay hari raya, maaf zahir and batin. :)
Spartan Rookie said…
Thank you Mr BR! The info was very informative indeed.
Anonymous said…
Where can i get those books? Currently out of stock at the bookstore..
My newest book 'Our Brunei Heritage' is available at all Best Eastern bookshops at the Mall Gadong, the Hua Ho Mall Jalan Muara, the Giant Tasek Rimba and Athirah Plaza Jalan Tutong. You can also find copies of my second book 'The Golden Warisan Brunei Darussalam Volume 2' at the same bookshops.
ainggelagah said…
thank you for the info on the location. going to get more copies of your book and to be share with others locally and international acquaintance. any chance that I can get Mr author to sign the book?

graduate student, 2011.
Drop in to my office at 5th floor, MOD Building, Old Airport. If I am not in, leave the books there and I will get the books back to you. Ok?
Hazirah said…
I am currently doing a research on Baju Kurung & would love to discuss a couple of things with you, if that is possible?

Many thanks,
Stickman said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Delima said…
Dimana kalau nak cari baju-baju macam tu ?

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