Kuching, is the capital and the most populous city in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia . It is also the capital of Kuching Division . The city is situated on the Sarawak River at the southwest tip of the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo and covers an area of 431 square kilometres (166 sq mi) with a population about 1 million in the Greater Kuching Region.
There are many theories as to the derivation of the name "Kuching". It was perhaps derived from the Malay word for cat, "kucing"; or from Cochin , an Indian trading port on the Malabar Coast and a generic term in China and British India for trading harbour. However, another source reported that the Kuching city was previously known as Sarawak; before Brooke arrived.
The settlement was renamed to Sarawak proper; during the kingdom expansion. It was only in 1872 that Rajah Charles Brooke renamed the settlement to Kuching.
Some source also stated that it was derived from a fruit called mata kucing (Euphoria malaiense), a fruit that grows widely in Malaysia and Indonesia. There was also a hill in the city that was named after the fruit, which is called Bukit Mata Kuching while other sources stated that the name was derived from a stream of the same name, called Sungai Kuching; or Cat River in English that runs through the town into the main river.
The confluence of cultures bear strong in Kuching where the legacy of the Malay aristocracy or ‘Perabangan’ dwell harmoniously with the Chinese merchants and Indian traders who have had early dealings with the local population of Bidayuh ( Land Dayak), and the Iban.
CRAFTS IN KUCHING
The Cultural Material, i.e. the Crafts that thrived in this harmonious environment and still currently being produced are:
‘Kain songket’ - a kind of brocade weave with gold and silver metallic threads on
cotton and silk
‘Keringkam’ - a silver metallic embroidery on sheer muslin cotton
‘Tikar bergerang’ - an open weave pandanus mat weaving and other plain mats
Silver and gold jewellery
Tin and metal smithing
Ceramics and pottery
Embroidery and tailoring
Basketry in rattan and bamboo
‘Pua kumbu’ warp ikat weaving
‘Pua sungkit’ weaving
Bamboo and rattan basketry
Clay pottery (raku ware)
‘Parang’ metal smithing
Over the years since Sarawak’s Independence in 1963, the range of Indigenous Crafts that flow into Kuching has increased especially with people movement and better mode of road, river, and air transportation. Thus, adding to the above mentioned list, there are:
ORANG ULU (Kenyah, Kayan, Kelabit, Lun Bawang etc)
Bark cloth painting
Sape wooden lute musical instrument
‘Terendak’ palm hat making