The Lifeline Vine

Rattan is a highly viable forest fibre. As a vine and requiring more than a decade to mature, this material is pliable, hardy and provides texture when plaited. The rattan vine requires trees to climb and a canopy to provide shelter; it hence survives and thrives in the Borneon rainforest.

The Penans are Sarawak’s last nomadic tribe. As most are newly settled into villages, the Penans continue to maintain a strong relationship with the rainforest, relying on their lush environs for sustenance and livelihoods. Forest rattan is an important resource to the Penans for many generations, as they manipulate this fibre into items of shelter, rest and carriage.

Tanoti works with Penans in more than 20 villages together with our institutional collaborators. Our mission is to develop the market and enhance the value of the craft of these highly skilled and talented artisans and identify specific areas as centres of excellence in rattan basketry weaving. Our objective is to allow forest communities to sustain their lives and livelihoods and improve their standards of living within their natural habitat, through craft.

Lattice weave

Mat weaving, cross-cross patterns

Mat weaving, patterns in small repeats

Mat weaving, chevron pattern

Mat weaving, prominent patterns

Lattice weave, with frame

Mat weaving, block colour

Chain of rings

Rattan wrapped rods

Rattan ornaments

Tanoti’s work with the communities in rattan weaving include:

WCC Award of Excellence

Singin Tiwan

Rita Kut

Liza Niyek

Emerging Craft Community