The mengkuang products at INKAA are made in partnership with HKY Collections, led by Khadijah Yong who has been involved in this cottage industry for the past 32 years. We also carry a range of timeless products that are exclusively designed and made by Khadijah and her team of women-weavers.
Weaving with leaves and reeds is one of the oldest crafts to still be practiced to this day.
Among the myriad of fibres used for plait-weaving in Malaysia is mengkuang. A spiky plant found in Malaysian jungles and coastal areas, mengkuang is traditionally used to create floor-coverings, baskets and other ornamental objects.
Before mengkuang objects became a commercial commodity, weaving mengkuang was a common pastime for the coastal women in Malaysia during the monsoon season. Although practiced throughout Peninsula and East Malaysia, Terengganu has been regarded as the home to the finest mengkuang weaving in the country.
As a craft made in a domestic setting and primarily by women, it is an object has often been historically overlooked in writings about Malaysian art and visual culture.
However, a few historical accounts and archeological evidence reveal that plait-weaving has had a long and illustrious history in the region and played a central role in the daily life.
From leaves to woven mats to fashionable products...
The process of producing a mengkuang piece, from the jungle plant to the woven mat, is long and arduous. The preparation of the strips alone is often as time consuming as the work itself.
The task of selecting the leaves is carried out by local specialists who have to seek out the appropriate leaves to be used for weaving.
Mengkuang leaves have thorny, serrated edges which have to be removed once harvested.
The mengkuang products at INKAA are all handmade by the artisans of HKY Collections in Terengganu.
HKY Collections was founded by Khadijah Yong, an inspiring entrepreneur and artisan who has been working in this cottage craft for over thirty-two years. Her thoughtful merging of traditional techniques and contemporary colours have pushed the craft forward.
The production process is a collaboration between women across in several villages in Terengganu. Khadijah personally hand-dyes the strips with a selection of bold and vibrant colours. Her sense of aesthetics often stood out from the rest, with designs and colour palettes that would fit well in both kampung and modern homes, or even art galleries.