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Royal headdress: “Dendam tak sudah” carries significant philosophy

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 21: The “Dendam Tak Sudah” (Endless Vengeance) headdress, to be worn by Sultan Muhammad V at his installation ceremony as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Monday not only complements the ceremonial songket attitre, but also carries significant philosophy and symbolism.

The headdress maker, M.Z Fairuz Zakaria, 40, said even the name “Dendam Tak Sudah” carried double meaning and was closely related to life and human nature.

“Symbolically, vengeance does not necessarily imply hostility, but related to feelings such as longing or eager to fight for the country.

“When Malay rulers wear the headdresses, it signifies the continuous struggles and their readiness to shoulder the responsibility for the country,” he told Bernama recently.

Fairuz said the “Dendam Tak Sudah” headdress originated from Negeri Sembilan, was black in colour and embroidered with gold threads, which would be worn by the Malay Sultan who was appointed as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during installation ceremony.

The style of folding the headdress consists of five main components,  namely “lambaian ibu”, “takuk”, “simpul kasih”, “pucuk kasih” and “gelembung kasih”, with each having its own meaning.

“Lambaian Ibu” was the top section of the headdress, a representation of a mother who was waving goodbye to her son who was about to embark on a journey with a hope that he would return home one day.

In the central part of the “lambaian ibu”, affixed at the front of the headdress, there was a crescent-shaped ornament and a 14-pointed star and at the centre of the star was the crest of the Malaysian Government.

According to Fairuz,  “Dendam Tak Sudah” headdress to be worn by Sultan Muhammad V would feature ”lambaian ibu” of which the fold was pointing to the right, while other headdresses worn by other royalties or the public, it would be pointing to the left.

“Takuk”, the lower part of the headdress, will have five folds, symbolising the five Pillars of Islam principles.

“Takuk” also symbolises the journey of life. Each “takuk” has different width which implies that in life not everything was easy and beautiful, and there would be a good time as well as winding roads to go through, Fairuz said.

He added that another feature of the headdress was “Simpul Kasih” (the top knot above the ears) that symbolised marriage; “Pucuk Kasih” (the vertical section at the edge of the headdress) represented the power of a King and “Gelembung Kasih” that symbolised a marriage that resulted the wife being pregnant.

Elaborating, Fairuz, who was born in Pendang, Kedah, said “Dendam Tak Sudah” headdress was originally known as ”Dandan Tak Sudah”, which implied that the headdress was unfinished with several sections still not properly seamed together.

“Perhaps, the original maker was rushing to complete the headdress, hence the unfinished parts and known as ”Dandan Tak Sudah”.

“When brought to the Negeri Sembilan, it was later changed to ”Dendam Tak Sudah”,” said Fairuz who has been involved in making headdress over the past five years.

In addition to ”Dendam Tak Sudah” headdress, there were also other headdresses with specific styles of folding namely “Balung Raja”, “Lang Menyusur Angin”, “Ayam Patah Kepak” and “Solok Timba”.

Fairuz said the size of the royal headdress to be worn by Sultan Muhammad V was obtained from the National Palace”s ceremonial officials and it would not be adjustable once completed.

Sharing the experience of producing the royal headdress for the first time for the installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Fairuz said utmost patience and conscientious with attention for details were the prerequisites as it was one hundred per cent handmade.

He said the creation of His Majesty”s headdress took him eight hours and it was fully completed at the National Palace under the watchful eyes of the court officials.

The headdress was made of hand-woven songket with gold and silk threads from Terengganu as songket from Terengganu was known of its high quality compared to the ones produced in other states, he said.

“The challenge when folding the headdress was to get it right. Initially, I got it all wrong and had to take a break and start all over again. At the same time I have to explain to the court officials the meaning of every fold and detail on the headdress,” said Fairuz, who had hitherto created the headdresses for the Keeper of the Rulers” Seal and the national award recipients.

Starting as a hobby and his deep passion for Malay heritage, Fairuz, who ran the Khazanah Warisan Al-Fairuzi in Batu Caves, Selangor, with his wife Siti Aishah Sheikh Idris, 30,  said he learned the techniques of producing the headdress from many experienced headdress makers in several states including Negeri Sembilan and Pahang.

He also compiled old articles and photographs, in addition to visiting museums and the Royal Gallery to get more information about Malay culture and customs.

Apart from making headdresses for customers, Fairuz was also planning to publish a book on the subject as well as producing miniature size (of headdresses) as souvenirs.

— Bernama 

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