Friday, February 9, 2007

The Elegant Orang Ulu Lady

The colourful and very artistic traditional costumes of the Orang Ulu (Highlanders) lady of Sarawak certainly also make them the most outstanding and elegant costumes among all the natives.Traditionally these costumes are only worn during important ritual ceremonies and during the welcoming of VIPs. A complete set of this costume may cost up to several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the quality of the materials used. In fact many families consider their traditional costumes as priceless heirloom if they are being passed down from their ancestors.The whole set includes, from head to toes, a beaded head-dress with tassels of white goat hair, a bead necklace, a colourful short sleeves shirt and a sarong skirt decorated with ethnic designs and bright colours of yellow, green and red and a belt of several strings of antique beads. In the olden days heavy brass ear rings were worn in elongated earlobes which gave the Orang Ulu ladies a very unique appearance. The earlobes may extend 8-10 inches long and it was their belief that the longer the earlobes, the prettier the ladies. Both the lower arms, fingers and legs of some of the Orang Ulu ladies are also heavily tattooed in black which symbolize their social status in society.

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