The jungles of Malaysia are blessed with a variety of FOREST-BASED FIBRES such as rattan, bamboo, ribu-ribu (Lygodium), bemban, mengkuang or pandanus, was a criterion for a maiden to be judged sufficiently accomplished in her village.
Rattan or cane is usually used for furniture, while smaller and more delicate varieties are woven into baskets ranging from waste paper basket to picnic hampers. Bamboo plays an important role in local culture and art ranging from bamboo-based crafts such as the all-purpose boxes, bowl, pencil holders and furniture.
When carefully woven, strips of bamboo, rattan, and bemban produce the most attractive weaving found in Sarawak. Bamboo that is cut, lathed, smoothed and shaped to the required design has given rise to bamboo carvings-a handicraft specialty of Sarawak. The ribu-ribu of Sabah or Lygodium is woven from the twines of the creeper fern by the ethnic Rungus people Kudat. This fiber craft is a Sabah specialty. The stems are woven together with rattan and fashioned into beautiful and fantastic handicraft items such as pillboxes, baskets, fruit bowls, trays, coasters, placemats as well as handbags. Traditionally, the ribu-ribu containers were used for the storage of betel nuts.