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Baju Kurung Basics

In the spirit of Eid-ul-Fitri, this post will be about traditional Malay garments.

Here is a Wiki definition of Malay – “an ethnic group of Austronesian peoples predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, eastern Sumatra and coastal Borneo, as well as the smaller islands which lie between these locations — areas that are collectively known as the Malay world. These locations today are part of the modern nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand.” Malays are predominantly Muslim and thus celebrate the two Eids. On these holidays, Malays dress up in festive traditional garments known as Baju Kurung (for women) and Baju Melayu (for men).

In general, there are two types of Baju Kurung, being the Pesak Buluh (Bamboo or Straight Gore) and Pesak Gantung (Hanging Gore). The difference lies mainly in the shape of the gore and gusset which attach the bottom of the sleeves to the main body, as shown in my illustrations here:

Baju Kurung Pesak Buluh
Baju Kurung Pesak Buluh. “Buluh” here means bamboo, which refers to the shape of the gore
Baju Kurung Pesak Gantung
“Gantung” here means “hanging”. I don’t really know why the gore is considered to be “hanging”. But it consists of two pieces.

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