Visual composition of Malay woodcarvings in vernacular houses of Peninsular Malaysia
Ismail Said
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310,
Skudai, Johor, Malaysia.
Jurnal Teknologi, 37(B) Dis. 2002: 43–52
© Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Abstract. Malay timber houses of Peninsular Malaysia are embellished with carved components
that served both functional and aesthetic purpose, thus acting as one of the determining factors in
defining the character of the regional architecture. The physical form of woodcarving is governed by
four factors, namely, principal forms and arrangement, types of incisions and perforations, types of
motifs and design principles regulating its composition. The Malay craftsmen of Kelantan, Terengganu,
Perak and Negeri Sembilan applied these factors in their carvings which resulted in similarities and
differences of visual compositions. The major similarities included the application of four principal
forms of carving patterns and seven shapes of carving arrangements. On the other hand, the differences
occurred in types of motifs and types of incisions.

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