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The Mah Meri people from the Senoi group are the only indigenous people in Malaysia who carve wooden masks. Mask carving is an art inspired by the spiritual world of the Orang Asli, a world filled with supernatural forces, both good and evil. Mask makers help visualize their tribe's folk tales, myths, and legends of the olden days. These masks were originally made from Pulai wood, a light weight, whitish wood ideal for mask making, though its increasing rarity has caused carvers to use Nyireh Batu wood, a reddish hardwood.
The Mah Meri people carve masks as a sign of reverence to their ancestors. The word “Moyang” used for every mask refers to the ancestors who are believed to be the guardians safeguarding their peaceful existence, as well as in meeting out punishments such as sickness, difficulty in hunting task, or failure in planting.
These workshops are designed for small, dedicated groups who want to learn the Art of Woodcarving, as practiced by the Mah Meri people. Participants will interact directly with the artists and should be able to make simple products at the end of the day.