Brunei Arts & Handicrafts Training Centre

Is a governmental center coordinated by the Brunei Museum. It was built with just a main purpose, to revive the country’s heritage in traditional arts and handicrafts. Originally, the center was established in 1975 and was moved to its new and current location in 1984 in conjunction with the Brunei Independence. Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Training Centre is the only place where mostly Brunei oldest Arts and Handicrafts survived from extinction.

The center is currently under renovation when we visited, but it’s still open for visitors. For me, the center is just perfect for window shopping. I said that because the items displayed are to expensive for me even to touch.
We were told by one of the staffs that the clothes displayed for sale was hand woven with either silver or gold threads or both. Brunei Darussalam in particular is a proud of its tradition in this ancient craft and produced some of the finest examples of hand woven material that can be seen around the world.

One of the famous woven clothes is the “Kain Tenunan”, the fabled “Cloth of Gold Brocade”. It’s designed with intricate detail, hand woven row by row with golden threads and worn as a sarong on rare ceremonial occasions.
It takes 10 to 15 days and sometimes even months to finish a standard piece of cloth that measure about 2.2 meters by 0.8 meters, depending on the intricacy of the design and how efficient the women work.  I hope one day I can wear a sarong made if not gold, then of silver threads and it would be a great honor!

The center is also known for silver works, kris, brass and songkok making. Kris is a Malay weapon with a razor-sharp blade and can be a deadly weapon in close combat.  The edge of the roof of the center symbolizes the edge of this weapon.

Silver works on the other hand symbolizes the design of the center as it is believed that crafts is an ancient one, having been in existence in Brunei for centuries.

Wearing a headgear has always been a part of the Bruneian male’s dress since time immemorial, but it’s not the case today, except during ceremonial events. The headgear they usually wear is called Songkok or what most of us called a cap.
The center offers 5 course for the youth below 35 years old and completed their secondary schools or higher. These courses are weaving, silver smiting, woodcarving, brass smiting and basketry and “Songkok” making. The center has a strict no camera policy. You can only take photos as far as the entrance, after that you should turn off your camera.

The center has two showrooms, one at the Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Training Centre Building and the Departure Hall at Brunei International Airport. The price of the items displayed in the first showroom ranges from B$400 and up, depending on the items.  Too expensive for me so I just content myself in looking.

Address:              Jalan Residency, Bandar Seri Begawan
Telephone:          +673-224-0676
Opening hours:    8:00am-5:00pm Saturday to Thursday | 8:00am-11:30am & 2:00pm-5:00pm Friday

How to Get There:
Take bus 39 from Central and ask the driver to drop you off at the bus stop in front of the center. Cross the road and walk to the center for just a couple of minutes.


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