Traditional Kites of Malaysia
In Malaysia, "layang-layang" is the generic term for kites in the Western and Southern regions of Peninsular Malaysia such as Selangor, Melaka and Johor. In general, kites from these states are divided into three categories , namely fighting kites, baby kites and the decorative kites. The kites from the West Coast and Southern Peninsular are smaller in size. Besides that, they also lacks decorative motifs.
Layang-layang is also know as "wau" in the East Coast and Northern States of Peninsular like Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis. The word "wau" originated from the sound generated from the "hummer" of the kite. When in flight, the hummer will form sounds of wau, wau, wau in a rhythmic pattern. Wau Bulan, Wau Merak, Wau Kucing and Wau Jala Budi are the most popular traditional wau.
Wau Jala Budi
The name Wau Jala Budi is derived from a leaf found in Kedah called the 'budi' leaf. The tail of the wau is similar to the 'budi' leaf and the word 'jala' (net) refers to the structure of the tail of the wau. However, the basic shape and design is similar to the other way. When flown, the kite produces a medum buzzing drone emitted from the 'hummer' located at the head of the kite. The appearance of Wau Jala Budi is also similar to 'Chulia Kite' originated from Thailand.
Among the traditional kites, Wau Bulan is the most popular and most attractive in appearance. It is called Wau Bulan because of its crescent shape and tailpieces. According to legend, Wau Bulan originated from the Sri Wijaya Empire and symbolizes the reunification of the empire by Dewa Muda. Wau Bulan was used by Dewa Muda as a guide to determine the designated area to be conquered. The wau Bulan today has since undergone much modifications and changes. The Wau Bulan was more widely known in Kelantan.
The design of Wau Kucing (Cat Kite) resembles the cat and is most apparent when seen from the back, beginning with the head, body and tail. The specialty of Wau Kucing is the 'hummer' emitting a screeching, high-pitched sound, similar to the sound made by cats. The 'hummer' is also used to frighten away evil spirits and to forecast the following day's weather. The floral and plant motifs of the 'sobek' carvings on Wau Kucing are decorated in the same way as the Wau Bulan.
Wau Merak, also known as Layang-layang Kipas (Fan Kite), is believed to have originated from Sulawesi, Indonesia and is flown mainly by the Bugis community. The design assimilates the characteristics of the peacock and is not restricted by any particular size. The specialty of the Wau Merak is its 'hummer' . The 'hummer' of the Wau Merak is capable of producing seven different melodies or sound. The Wau Merak originally was played at night because of the beauty of the melodies or sound release. The decorative elements on the body of the Wau Merak are mostly of plant origin, namely creepers such as pepper and betel nut.
Stamp Week 2005 - Batik Malaysia
2nd to 8th December 2005
Rare Reptiles of Malaysia