As far back as seven generations, Encik Long bin Yusoff’s family can be proud to be known as the premier family of wood-carvers in the entire state of Terengganu if not Malaysia. His family’s skills are not limited to carving only, but also extend to constructing ornate homes, palaces and furniture. The knowledge and skills in the fine art of wood-carving flowed through generations of Long’s family, with roots from Pattani in South Thailand. Samples of these high quality handiwork are physical evidence of their work. The expertise of Encik Long reached the ears of royalty who commissioned him to decorate their palaces. They were not disappointed.
He was known as a court craftsman with multiple talents which included the ability to make furniture, sail boats, sedan chairs and weapons.
Encik Long passed away taking with him his experience as a wood-carver. He lived up to the edge of 120, a lifespan quite rare in those days, and even today, while contributing to society through his art form. He passed on his knowledge and skills to his sons who continued the interest in wood-carving. In Long family, wood carving traditions live on. The current generation of the family turned the art form into an industry, taking bulk orders.
It is safe to say that he was among the first person to commercialize the wood carving industry in Malaysia (during the 70’s) when the arts of wood-carving was fading away. Since then he had groomed a new generation of wood-carvers, hence saving this art form from extinction. Today, most of the wood- carving companies and individuals, particularly those operating in Kelantan and Terengganu (both states are known for wood-carving activities) were trained and groomed by him.
He had made it possible for local society to adorn their homes and public places with beautiful, traditional wood-carvings. He also acknowledged that there was an ever increasing interest and appreciation of wood-carvings especially with improving economic conditions. Fine intricate wood-carvings are no longer confined to palaces or the upper echelons of society, but can be found on doors, windows and walls of houses of any individual who values their beauty.
Part of his effort is to educate and share knowledge on the art of wood carving, he had always welcomes students and scholars who want to study the subject.
All of his knowledge and expertise had been handed down to his sons. Thus, making sure his legacy and arts continue to florish.