Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"RUMAH BETANG" The Long House of the Dayak, Borneo

In the past, the life of the Dayak tribes who resided inland of Borneo that live in groups, where they must lived and passed along, it was embodied in a architecture work that is, Huma Betang

Betang has a unique characteristics that can be observed from the elongated shape and there was only a staircase and the entrance to the Betang. That staircase as a means of connecting to the Betang called hejot. Betang was built high from the ground surface to avoid the things that bother the residents of Betang, such as avoiding the enemy that can come suddenly, the beast, or the flooding that sometimes swept them. Almost all Betang can be found on the by of big rivers in Borneo (Kalimantan).

Betang built typically large, can reach 30-150 feet in length and width can reach about 10-30 feet, has a pole of about 3-5 meters high. Betang built using high quality wood materials, namely ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwagerí T et B), in addition to having the strength to stand up to hundreds of years as well as anti-termite.

Betang is usually inhabited by 100-150 people in it, it can be ascertained that the atmosphere inside. Betang can be said to be a tribal home, because beside of there was occupied by of one big family who become residents and guided by a tribal chief or Pambakas Lewu. Interior of betang house divided into several rooms occupied by each family.

There is a hall on the front yard of Betang as a place to receive guests as well as the customary meeting place. Also we can find Sapundu Hall on the front. Sapundu is a sculpture or a totem that is generally shaped human beings who have unique carvings. Sapundu has a function as a place to tie the animals for processions sacrificed ceremony . Sometimes there are also patahu on the front yard too that serves as a house of worship.

At the rear of the Betang can be found a small hall called tukau used as warehouses for storing agricultural tools, such as lisung or halu. There is also a place for weapon storage area, where it is usually called bawong. On the rea front of Betang usually there are also Sandung. Sandung is a place where the bones of the deceased and the family has gone through the process tiwah ceremony.

One of the Dayak habit is to breed and care of animals, like dogs, birds, cats, pigs, or cows. Apart from wanting to take care of dogs, the Dayak also desperately need dog role as a 'friend' faithful at the time of hunting in the woods forests. In times past Dayak never want to eat dog meat, because the Dayak tribe has been considered a dog as a faithful companion who always accompany especially when in the forest. Because dogs are considered as part of the Dayaks, the dog also named as human.

Very unfortunate as the modernization of the present buildings, Betang is now almost at the end of extinction, whereas Betang is one form of manifestation of a spirit and togetherness of Dayak tribe. Maybe later Betang will truly extinct but it is our responsibility to the ancestors to preserve the spirit of Huma Betang. We must be aware of this inner sense would have to remain culture of their ancestors.

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