Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Rumah Gadang", The Big House in West Sumatra of Indonesia

Minangkabau society (one of the tribes in Sumatra), living in a social order in the form of a large family (paruik) derived from a matrilineal descent, where every single descendant of a family headed by a grandmother (mamak). Every family has their own big house, where family activities take place inside the party is dominated by women. Who occupy these gadang Houses are women and children, while the boys stayed in the mosque to learn to recite and study.
Minangkabau society with its Minangkabau culture has 3 important elements:

1. Idealism (containing the values or norms)
2. Patterned behavior (ceremonial ritual)
3. Physical manifestation

Minangkabau architecture is one of physical manifestation, can not be separated from the social culture. The most prominent architectural shape was the House and the Mosque. Public house called the Gadang House as the residence of a large family. Activities conducted within a cultural pattern and procedure adopted for socialization. Minangkabau people living within natural idealism called takambang be a teacher (a teacher of Natural lie), wherein the silver lining in this can be absorbed as an example to behave in a civilized and daily lifes.

Traditional architecture of ordinary people are often known as Bagonjong architecture, where the roof is arched and his body sagged in the middle. Indeed this form is widely used as a form of Minangkabau architecture, but actually still has lots of ornaments based on its type.


Gadang Houses are said sieve (large) not because of its great physique, but because its function. In Minangkabau song or speech also described the house functions as a sieve which include the following.

Rumah gadang basa batuah, Tiang banamo kato hakikaik, Pintunyo basamo dalia kiasannya, Banduanyo sambah-manyambah, Bajanjang naiak batanggo turun, Dindiangnyo panutuik malu, Biliaknyo aluang bunian.

which means roughly as follows:
Rumah Gadang is a big house ,
Its pole (or column) said the nature,
The big door said a metaphor,
Its roof like doing worship
Has declined and climbed the stairs
The walls are closing shame,
Its sectional rooms for occupancy.

House thus have a role and many functions. Aside from being a family residence, the house of gadang functions as a symbol of the community presence and as a center of life and harmony, as a place where they made an agreement and implement the various ceremonies. Even as well as a place to care for sick family members.

As a place to live together, big houses have separate provisions. Every woman who married get a room. The youngest women obtain the most far rooms. In turn he will move to center if a girl get a husband as well. Old women and children obtain a place in a room near the kitchen. While teenage girls shared a room at the other end. While the old man, a widower, and single bed in his nation's surau respectively. Placement of new couples in the same most far room, as the busy atmosphere do not interfere them in the house. Similarly, placing an old woman and children in a room near the kitchen is due to his physical condition that needs to get off ride home at night.

As a place for getting an agreement, Gadang House is building the center of all members in discussing their problems together.

A place for conducting the ceremony, the Gadang House is important in putting in place the level of their dignity it deserves. That's where the coronation of the prince done. That's where the center of the banquet is important for various purposes in dealing with others and where the prince awaits guests who they respect.

As a place of caring for families, large homes also play a role as a hospital for every man who becomes their family. A man who almost die would be to be brought to the big house or the house where she was born. And the house that he would be released into cemetery when he died. This will be very beneficial, if the man has more than one wife, so will preventing disputesbetween his wives.

Therefore traditionally Gadang House inhabited by grandmother, mother and daughters. If the house had a narrow, other houses will be built next to it. If the house was not accommodate those occupants and also not Gadang House, then located in other places who do not row with a big house.

Well ..., now we know its function very much, of course we could understand inhabited by many peoples, even in total more than 100 peoples. It's a very big house instead?

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