Malaysia: Malayan man

Front view
Front view

General description: Malayan man in formal clothing

Dimensions 23 x 8 x 5.5 cm

Date when acquired 1980s

Original Date 1980s

Source Singapore city, Singapore; present from my parents


Back view
Back view


Body made of felt on top of wire. The head appears to be made of some type of plastic with painted features. The doll is mounted on brown painted wooden square base (6 x 6 x 1 cm) with a golden label with the words “Malay costume doll”.


side view (right) showing folds of tengkolok and the sampin
side view (right) showing folds of tengkolok and the sampin


He is wearing a traditional two-piece baju melayu in a pale lavender silk. It is in the cekak musang style as it has a standing collar. The collar is closed at the back. The shirt is closed by three buttons made of red beads held in place by silver pins. There are no pockets typical of the cekak musang style, however. The doll has a traditional sampin (Malayan kilt or sarong) from the waist to below the hips. The material is a piece of black velvet with stripes of golden thread running vertically through it. On his head is a tengkolok, a typical piece of Malay male headgear made of the same material.

Side view (left)
Side view (left)

Over his right shoulder is a narrow sash in green, white and red. It is held in front and on the right shoulder by a silver sequin. The tricolour symbolising the Malay people is however green, yellow and red (green =Islam, yellow = royalty and the allegiance of the people to their rulers, and red = the traditional colour of the Malay meaning courage, bravery, heroism and loyalty). He also has a sort of medal on his left chest made of a strip of the same material held in place with a silver sequin.

On his feet are a pair of flip-flop-like plastic sandals each held in place by a silver sequin but they may just be representatives of the capal (the traditional Malay sandal which has a piece that goes between the first and second toes).


Bird's eye view of the tengkolok
Bird’s eye view of the tengkolok




Background information

See Malaysia: General information

Traditional Malay costume: baju kurung


Source(s) of information



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