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    Mar 2015
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    To Know More the Rumah Gadang of Minangkabau



    The unique character of the Minangkabau is illustrated in their architecture. To understand their houses, knowledge of their place on society is needed. This system is explained by the Minangkabau themselves. Traditional Minangkabau houses are called rumah gadang lit. 'big house'. They are rectangle, long structures with walls that seem to fall over in towards the points of the roofs. The house normally has once entrance, in the middle of the lowest side.

    The roofs in a peak are explained as the buffalo's horns. This is connected with the Minangkabau myth about a contest between a Javanese buffalo and a Minangkabau calf; the calf won. The Minangkabau house was traditionally built following a special construction where the top support was pressed into it's right position.

    The two 'horns' were made by putting weight in the middle, what causes the wood to bend so far. The Toraja from Sulawesi use the same kind of construction for their roofs, which do remind of boats which their ancestors used when they arrived at the island. The form probably dates back to prehistoric times, because similar houses are found on bronze drums which are found in Vietnam and Southwestern China. The houses are separated in several separate apartments, every one of them inhabited by a woman which is related to the female head of the household. A family unit consisted of a grandmother with her children and grandchildren.

    However the rumah gadang have the same shape, several types are associated with the tree biggest Minangkabau valleys, and with the borderlines between the supporters of Bodi Caniago and Koto Piliang. Several figures are only to be used for window-stills, others for the anjuang, the attics, the roofs and so on. The pattern of tangguak lamah for example, symbolizes the subjectiveness and jalo taserak reminds of the differences between good and bad. Minangkabau woodcarvings remind the people to behave themselves in the community, and the house is a message for honesty as well as a symbol of the Minangkabau social culture.
    Last edited by Lionna; 29-04-2016 at 11:03.

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