The cultural and artistic heritage of Brunei is supported by several public institutions such as the Royal Regalia Building, Brunei History Center, and the Arts and Handicraft Center. Brunei has a rich past which the government does an excellent job of promoting and maintaining. This nation was once renowned for its boat making, weaving, basketry, silversmith and bronze tooling skills. The Malay influence is quite evident in the traditional musical instruments, weaponry, decorative items and games of Brunei.
When Islam was introduced, it dramatically changed the cultural landscape of Brunei. The distinctly Islamic art forms and cultural priorities brought a whole new element to the nation’s indigenous heritage. Brunei’s mosques are works of art in themselves, offering many examples of Islamic art that are rarely seen outside the Arabic world. Ceremonial items, intricate mosaics and gilded copies of the Koran can be viewed at several monuments around Brunei.
Brunei has a rich artistic heritage which spans several centuries. While a strong Islamic influence runs through all aspects of Brunei culture such as dance, song and literature, there are also Chinese influences as well as the distinctly different cultures of Brunei’s tribes.
Handicrafts come in all shapes and sizes, from gold and silver-threaded textiles to traditional daggers.
Until quite recently the majority of Brunei’s literature had been religious, with the gilded Holy Korans being a prominent example.
Brunei has a rich and varied history of music and dance which falls into three main categories; folk, Kedayan and Malay. The best time to hear and see Brunei’s wide spectrum of music and dance is during the country’s major festivals.
Brunei’s mosques are highly decorated with large collections of sculptures and paintings which are often extremely elaborate. Colorful tribal paintings can also be seen in museums and the country’s villages.