The Malays wear a loose coat and trousers, and a cap or headkerchief, but the characteristic item of their costume is the sarong, a silk or cotton cloth about two yards long by a yard and a quarter wide, the ends of which are sewn together, a forming a kind of skirt.
The sarong is of Celebes manufacture and made of cotton, to the surface of which a high polish is imparted by friction with a shell.
The typical fighting costume of the Malay is a sleeveless jacket with texts from the Koran written upon it, short tight drawers reaching to the middle of the thigh, and the sarong is then bound tightly around the waist, leaving the hilt of the dagger worn in the girdle exposed to view.
Sarong, the Malay ward for a garment wrapped round the lower part of the body and used by both men and women, is now applied to plain or printed cloths exported to the Indian or Eastern Archipelago for this purpose.
However, the Negroid tribes are more and more adopting the customs and mode of life of the Hova, among whom are found pile-houses, the sarong, f adi or tabu applied to food, a non-African form of bellows, &c., all characteristic of their original home.