Museum of Malay World Ethnology

Website :
Entry Fee : RM 2
Google Maps Link :

Located inside the National Museum complex and one floor above the Orang Asli Crafts Museum, is the Museum of Malay World Ethnology. The entrance ticket is for both these museums. 

The entrance
I was greeted by a nice diorama of a Malay village house. On the left was another diorama of a man making 'Wau', the traditional kite popular in Kelantan. There is no indicator of the starting point so the correct way is to turn left after the entrance. There is a section that explains about the origin and history of the Malay race, as well as the Malay culture in Malaysia. On the right, there is a desk with a guestbook and hidden behind this desk is the floor plan for this museum.

A Malay village house

Museum floor plan

Moving along, there was display of ancient ships designed by the Malays. It was described that the Malays were once a seafaring race, because of the archipelago nature of their homeland. Next was the entertainment section, where the Malay musical instruments were displayed. There was also a diorama of Wayang Kulit, a traditional theatre popular in Kelantan.

Behind the Wayang Kulit screen

Further on, there were also detailed descriptions of other Malay traditional theatres. They were Mak Yong, Barongan, Bangsawan, Main Puteri, Mek Mulung, Kuda Kepang, Joget, Zapin, Asyik, and Ulik Mayang. In the middle of this section, there was a diorama of the 'bersanding' ceremony of Malay wedding. Also displayed in the same section were the accessories and traditional dress of the Malay community.

Bersanding ceremony at a Malay wedding
The next gallery displayed the traditional Malay weapons. There were two types of weapon displayed, the long weapons (long keris, spear, etc) and short weapons (short keris). Next was the Malay traditional wood carving, followed by metalworks and pottery. The types of pottery displayed were Labu Sayong, Tembikar Bacong, Buyung and Terenang.

Pottery display
The last section was the games section. Here, the types of Malay traditional games were described and displayed. They were Congkak, Sepak Raga (Takraw), Gasing, Batu Seremban and Wau.

Spinning the gasing was one the favourite pastime activities of Malay farmers

There a lot of things here that we have learnt in school but might have forgotten. This is great place for a refresher and some new things to learn too. Thanks for reading!


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