These 5 ways to wear traditional Malaysian tengkolok for women mean different things

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skull is a term used to describe a traditional headgear once worn by both Malay men and women. It used to have different styles and materials to denote different statuses and identities of the wearer.

The umbrella term for the Malay headgear is said to be Beginning. Below are other designations such as Tengkolok, Semutar, Tanjak, Getam and possibly others. But most of them are for men skull is also intended for women.

Thanks to PERNILAM and ML Studios, they’ve put together a few ways to wear it skull for women back then.

Here are five examples of skull styles:

1. Rolled Skull

This kind of headwear is designed for women who do daily work. There are variations on this skullone with the crossed cloth on her forehead (called the A roll of Embuai) and another simple one (called A roll of getok), which can be considered fundamental.

Skull from a scroll from Embuai (left) and Diligently rolled skull (To the right).
(Source: PERNILAM/Facebook, @H_Bakkaniy/Twitter)

This cloth is also used for praying as a prayer veil (crooked) were not available at that time. Working women could use their head coverings as something to cover themselves while praying. Tie it up so it doesn’t get dirty at work A role Technique, a simple and effective method of dressing and undressing.

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Skull from a scroll from Embuai (left) and Diligently rolled skull (To the right).
(Image credit: Bising Media TV / YouTube)

Below is a tutorial for that A roll of Embuai. It was worn by both laborers and maids in palaces (dayang-dayang).

Another version that A roll of getok, pretty much the most basic (and simplest) of them all, can be worn like this. This was usually worn by laborers working in the rice fields or rubber plantations. In some rural areas, this style can be seen worn by the older generation even today.

2. Bulang skull

This kind of skull is usually worn by maidens, women who are not married or have children yet, and also by warriors. It is also worn during strenuous outdoor activities such as silat (Malay martial arts).

(Image credit: Destar Alam Melayu / Johan Iskandar)

This kind of skull has an additional section on the side that reaches to the shoulders. This part is called ‘sipu-sipu’. It is used to cover the face in battle or when these women were just shy shy cat in the public.

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Here’s a tutorial on how to do that Slug’s head Style.

3. Veiled Skull

Next the veil Technology is actually how we get our electricity.hood‘style in here malaya. It evolved from just covering the head and back to covering the entire upper body. Additionally the word ‘hood‘ was probably derived from ‘veil‘.

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(Image credit: Destar Alam Melayu / Johan Iskandar)

This kind of skull is worn at official ceremonies, festive occasions or on the bride during her wedding. Apart from that, it is also worn by women who went out to teach and women who went out to study.

You can watch how to don this style in the video below.

4. Queen’s Skull

This skull worn only by a certain group of women. These women are categorized as having great knowledge in a particular area, such as gurus or leaders of an association, group or area. They are treated and respected as mentors or experts in their field and should always set a good example for their followers.

(Image credit: Destar Alam Melayu / Johan Iskandar)

There are two types of The Queen’s Skullone is double wrap named great lady and another with a single wrap called the Little Miss. Those who are seen wear them great lady were known to have more knowledge and experience compared to the Little Miss ones. You could say they are like senior and junior experts.

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This video below shows how to put one on Suri Besar Tengkolok (Minute 0.40) and how to put it on easily A skull roll (Minute 3.00) which we talked about earlier.

5. Snail skull

Well, that kind of skull worn only by pregnant, old or sick women who are present at an event or function. In a function where only women are present, these “vulnerable” women usually wear this head covering and another veil covering their torso.

When they get into the event and people start helping with the chores, they will remove the outer veil to reveal the shell skull. Basically, this hat is a symbol of saying politely to others: “I’m fragile, I can’t do strenuous work, sorry, not sorry.” Pretty chic, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, there are no instructions yet on how to wear this style, but it looks something like this.

(Image credit: Destar Alam Melayu / Johan Iskandar)

So who said women can’t wear skull? We can and we have done it. But of course the women’s style. When a woman wears a man’s style skull or vice versa, well, that’s not really going to go over well in society. Old customs and traditions should be treated with respect.

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