There are several types of head cloths, the detasaluak, and the deta bakaruik. The deta is usually a plain black or red one meter square, where as the deta bakaruik is made from a long black cloth with pleats or gathers. Most of the Minangkabau head cloths in Sarajo’s collection are for the important saluak, which is folded from a rectangular piece of fabric that is usually highly embellished with gold-wrapped thread.

Almost every aspect of the hat has a symbolic connection to the wearer’s societal responsibilities once it has been completely folded together.

The saluak’s flat top represents the way the wearer must treat everyone equally, its lack of sharp corners reminds the wearer to have a calming presence, and the horizontal folds across the front recall the stairs to the adat house, which is where the wearer acquires the wisdom he needs to help lead his people. The right side of the finished hat is taller than the left to remind the wearer that while he is responsible for the welfare of his sister’s children, his duty is to his own children first.