Brunei Darussalam's richly endowed cultural heritage
has been steadfastly maintained until today. The setting up
of the Arts and Handicraft Centre in 1975 is a living
testimony of the preservation and proliferation of the arts
and crafts of the bygone days which Brunei was renowned for;
such as boat making, silver-smiting, bronze tooling, cloth
weaving as well as mat and basket weaving.
Relics and other various artistic heritage
of Brunei Darussalam, The Brunei Museum at besides the ones
mentioned above, include Malay weaponry, wood carvings,
traditional games, traditional musical instruments, 'silat'
(the traditional art of self defence) and decorative items
Some of these are kept in the Brunei Museum and
the Malay Technology Museum; not only for the world to see
but also for today's generation to admire and be proud of.
These artefacts are also for future
generations to emulate perhaps, and to remind us of our
forefather's natural skills, creativity and innovativeness
which over generations has been said to be one of the
richest traditional cultures in the Malay world.
The Arts and Handicraft Training Centre
Built on the banks of the Brunei River,
the Arts and Handicraft Centre was established as a haven
for the learning and preservation of traditional Bruneian
knowledge and skills learnt in an era when trade was the
mainstay of the economy. In those days, cottage industries
were started in the making of silver, brass and other
artefacts but with the onslaught of time, these skills have
all but been forgotten, save for the efforts that are now
being made to preserve them.
On display at the centre are intricately
designed brocades called kain tenunan, woven using gold or
silver threads. Lengths of kain tenunan are highly valued as
heirlooms and as collectors' pieces, and have been woven and
worn to mark ceremonial occasions for centuries. Hand-tooled
silver jewellery and artefacts, including ornamental cannons
and replicas of the ancient snakelike Malay dagger known as
the Keris can also be admired and purchased from the
centre's handicraft shop. Other traditional crafts displayed
include handmade boats, baskets, mats and other woven
The Brunei Museum at Kota Batu On the
banks of the Brunei River, about 6.5km from the heart of
Bandar Seri Begawan, stretches the elongated shape of the
Its collection includes Borneo Ethnography
and Natural History displays as well as Islamic art
documenting the origins of much of, Brunei's culture. From
their softly lit niches, illuminated intricate renderings of
the Holy Quran and centuries-old glassware, ceramics,
jewellery, tapestries and military artefacts bear silent
witness to the artisans' skill and devotion.
Other displays include ancient Chinese
ceramics recovered from the seabed during an offshore oil
pipeline survey and an Oil and Gas Gallery.
The National Archive of Brunei
Established under the administration of
the Brunei Museum Department in 1977 as a support section,
the National Archive of Brunei Darussalam which is situated
at Jalan Menteri Besar keeps and preserves public archives
and public records of Brunei Darussalam in accordance with
the Brunei Darussalam National Archive Act.
The Art Gallery
Art is the still-life of the times. What
better way is there to experience or to document the
feelings of the past and present than through the medium of
art. The Art Gallery located next to the Brunei Arts and
Handicraft Training Centre at Jalan Residency aims to
promote and educate the public about art - through
exhibitions. Here, local artists are also given
opportunities to nurture their natural talents through
Malay Technology Museum
The rapid development of modern technology
which penetrates local culture seems to
suggest that the indigenous technologies of Brunei
Darussalam such as cottage industries and handicraft are
very much on the brink of extinction.
Without proper documentation these
indigenous technologies will likely be lost forever. The
Malay Technology Museum was specially established to
document, collect and exhibit these indigenous technologies
for the benefit of future generations.
On display are the architectural
structures of Kampung Ayer houses (the first settlement in
Brunei) from the late 19th century up to mid 20th century
and their traditional technologies such as boat making,
gold, brass and silver smiting, cloth weaving and fishing
crafts. The Malay Technology Museum is located next to the
Brunei Museum at Kota Batu, 7km from Bandar Seri Begawan the
building was donated by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of
Companies, in conjunction with Brunei Darussalam's
independence in 1984.
The Museum was officially opened by His
Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei
Darussalam on 29th February 1988.
The Royal Regalia Building
The Royal Regalia Building was officially
opened on 30 September 1992 by His Majesty Paduka Seri
Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah,
Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam. The
building integrates various characteristics of the
philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy and has become another
outstanding landmark of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of
Displaying a large number of the Royal
Regalia inherited from generation to generation, these items
are glorious symbols of the Brunei Darussalam Government.
The building consists of four galleries:
1. Royal Regalia (Coronation, 1968)
This area displays regalia used during the
Coronation of His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji
Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang
Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam.
2. Royal Exhibition Gallery
This area briefly documents the life
history of His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji
Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang
Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam from childhood days
up to the time of his coronation.
A combination of photographs is also
exhibited such as performing the pilgrimage to Mecca and the
delivery of a sermon during the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri at the
Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque on 5 April 1992.
3. Silver Jubilee Gallery
The Silver Jubilee Gallery chronicles the
historic Silver Jubilee celebration on 5th October 1992 of
His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah
Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara
Brunei Darussalam's ascension to the throne.
Models, dioramas, photographs, objects and
videos are combined to document among others:
Carriage used during the Royal Procession and the
accompanying Royal Regalia,
(2) A Pemajangan replica (the
decorative structure erected at the main entrance area of
the palace which is adorned with various types of royal
banners and insignia during the royal function), and
Gifts and souvenirs presented to His Majesty by local and
foreign dignitaries, the people of Brunei ministries,
private organisations, educational institutions and
4. Constitutional History Gallery
Phases in the development of Brunei's
constitutional history are outlined in this gallery.
Audio-visual aids and archival material help to explain the
pre-1959 period, the 1959 Constitution and Agreement, the
1971 Agreement, the 1979 Agreement, the Proclamation of
Independence in 1984 and the post-independence structure of
Merimbun Heritage Park
Merimbun Heritage Park (MHP) is located in
Mukim Rambai, Tutong District, 24km from Tutong Town. It is
accessible by car and is about one and a half hour's drive
from Bandar Seri Begawan.
The Merimbun Heritage Park or Tasek
Merimbun is under the management of Brunei Museums
Department, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei
Efforts to declare
Tasek Merimbun and its environment as a nature reserve began
as early as 1967 at the initiative of the Director of the
Museums, PM. Sarifuddin, the controller of the Wildlife
Protection 1978. In 1984, Tasek Merimbun was placed under
the management of the Ministry of Development.
Tasek Merimbun is unique in that it is the
largest black water lake in Brunei Darussalam. Consisting of
two shallow bodies of black water joined by a narrow
channel, the water is black because the segment of the
tributary that the locals’ call Sungai Meluncur flows
through the peat swamp forest, bringing with it deposits
that darken the river.
The surface areas of the two lakes
are approximately 100 and 120 hectares and the whole area of MHP is 7,800 hectares.
Apart from the lakes, recovered graves in
this area also show the presence of the Dusun ethnic group
who is believed to have settled there 500 years ago.
Merimbun was declared as one of Asean National Heritage
Sites on 29th November 1984, at the second Asean Ministerial
Meeting on the Environment in Bangkok, Thailand.
of this international recognition, $5 million dollars was
allocated by the Government during the 6th National
Development Plan for developing facilities at MHP and to
establish a national park
that would also incorporate extensive forest areas adjacent
to the lake.
The Tomb of Sultan Bolkiah
Between 1485 and 1524, the remarkable and
enigmatic Sultan Bolkiah ruled Brunei. Better known as
Nakhoda Ragam, or the Singing Admiral, he was known as a
seafarer, warrior and artist. Sultan Bolkiah spent large
amounts of time at sea, journeying far throughout the
Southeast Asian archipelago.
His fleet visited Java and Malacca, and
conquered Sulu and Manila in the Philippines. Sultan Bolkiah
was the fifth ruler of Islamic Brunei and his reign is known
as the nation's golden age.
Sultan Bolkiah died at sea, and his
mausoleum and adjoining cemetery garden grace the banks of
the Brunei River where the ancient capital is believed to
have been sited - off Jalan Kota Batu near the Brunei
Museum. --Courtesy of Brunei Year Book