Kebaya, Indonesia Cultural Heritage

Indonesia has a cultural heritage that is priceless. With ethnic diversity that exists and each has its own customs, making Indonesia a diverse work culture. One of them, such as kebaya.

Sanur Beach Bali

Sanur Beach is a place of wayfaring famous tourist island of Bali. This place is located just east of Denpasar, the capital of Bali. Sanur located in the Municipality of Denpasar.

Sasando Rote

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Sangguana who lived in Rote Island. One day, he tended to savannah. Felt tired and asleep, he slept under a palmyra tree. That’s when the dream came.

Arts Debus From Banten

Debus is a martial art from Banten. This art was created in the 16th century, in the reign of Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin (1532-1570). Debus, an art which demonstrates the remarkable human ability, immune to sharp weapons, fire resistant.

Hanging Stone and Origin of Parapat City

In one remote village on the outskirts of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, there lived a husband and wife with a beautiful daughter named Chrysanthemum.In addition to beautiful, Chrysanthemum is also very diligent in helping parents work in the fields.

Sabtu, 12 Maret 2011

Baju Bodo (Bugis Indonesia)

Baju Bodo is the traditional clothing of women  Bugis, Sulawesi  Indonesia.  Baju Bodo quadrangular usually short-sleeved, which is half of the elbow sleeves. Baju Bodo is also recognized as one of the oldest in the world of fashion.

Modern Baju Bodo

According to the indigenous Bugis, every color of clothes worn by women Bodo Bugisindicate the age or the dignity of the wearer.

  1. Orange used by the 10-year-old daughter.
  2. Orange and red used by girls aged 10-14 years.
  3. Red is used by women aged 17-25 years.
  4. White is used by the servants and shamans.
  5. Green is used by female royalty.
  6. Purple used by widows.
Clothing is often used for traditional events such as wedding ceremonies. But nowBodo outfit began revitalized through other events such as dance competitions orwelcome guests great.

First, Bodo clothes can be used without the cover of the breast. This had already been noted James Brooke (who later became king appointed the sultan of BruneiSarawak) in 1840 when he visited the palace of Bone.

Baju Bodo 1930's

"Women Bugis, wearing simple clothes. A single sheath covering the waist to toe anda thin shirt loose from muslin (gauze), shows breast and chest shape." How to wearclothes Bodo force in the 1930's.

Sumatran Tiger (Panthera Tigris Sumatrae)

Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, is one of six sub-species of tigers that still survive today and are included in the classification of critical wildlife threatened with extinction (critically endangered) in the red list of endangered species is released IUCN World Conservation Institute. The wild population is estimated between 400-500 animals, especially living in national parks in Sumatra. Sophisticated genetic testing has revealed genetic markers unique, indicating that this subspecies may evolve into separate species, if managed sustainably.

Sumatran tigers are the smallest tiger subspecies. Sumatran tiger has the darkest color among all other tiger subspecies, the black pattern width and the distance is sometimes tightly attached. Male Sumatran tigers average length 92 inches from head to tail, or about 250 cm long from head to foot with the weight 300 pounds or about 140kg, while the height of adult males can reach 60 cm. Females average 78 inches in length or about 198cm and weighs 200 pounds or approximately 91 kg. Sumatran tiger stripe is thinner than other tiger subspecies. Sumatran Tiger skin color is the darkest of all tigers, ranging from the yellow-red to dark orange. This subspecies also had more beard and mane than other subspecies, especially the male tiger. Their small size makes it easier to explore the jungle. There is a membrane in between her fingers that made ​​them able to swim fast. Tigers are known to corner their prey into the water, especially if the prey animal is a slow swimmer. Fur changed color to dark green when giving birth.

Sumatran tiger is found only on Sumatra island. This big cat can live anywhere, from lowland forests to mountain forest, and lived in many places are not protected. Only about 400 individuals live in nature reserves and national parks, and the rest scattered in other areas are cleared for agriculture, there are also approximately 250 males were reared in zoosall over the the world . Sumatran tigers face threats will lose their habitat because the area of its spread, such as blocks of lowland forest, peat and threatened mountain rain forest clearing for agricultural land and commercial plantations, as well as encroachment by logging and road construction activities. Due to the increasingly narrow habitat and decreases, the tigers were forced into areas closer to humans, where often they were killed and arrested for entering rural areas or lost due to an accidental encounter with humans.

Jump Stone (Fahombo) Nias Tradition

Centuries ago, the island of Nias, located to the west of Sumatra, consisting of some the region governed by the landlord or warlords as high nobility, noble status was not a hereditary position, a position that they get with a party to entertain the public or owasa. So the more often they are a party, the more eternal and higher the position they are in the public eye, and cost the party a party they get from war booty.

To win the war noblemen would need the backing of powerful forces, so that at a certain time they open the opportunity for young men to become soldiers. For men become soldiers or members of the defense forces is an honor, with a better income from ordinary citizens and future opportunities to make their good fortune when a nobleman, achieved the glorious position as well.

In those days ago, the event was held in a special selection and lasted so festive, as if a festival, people flocked from far away though to watch the young men showed each skill to skip stones and trying to be the best. For the girls this event is an arena of worship and praise the men's dream and also vice versa, for men who pass the test quickly became the idol of girls. For those who already have a candidate, he immediately proposed to her choice, which still has a chance of getting Singles future wife. So fahombo finally shifted its meaning, as if implying anyone who managed to jump over the composition of such stones deserve to be called as an adult and married.

Fahombo now become a tourist attraction for the visitors of the island of Nias both foreign and domestic tourists and not only do young man, a frail old man even though allowed to jump.

Ubud Bali

Ubud is a remarkable town in the middle of the island of Bali. For more than a century, it has been the island's preeminent centre for fine arts, dance and music. While it once was a haven for scruffy backpackers, cosmic seekers, artists and bohemians, Ubud is now a hot spot for literati, glitterati, art collectors and connoisseurs. Famous names walk its busy sidewalks everyday. Elegant five star hotels and sprawling mansions now stand on its outskirts, overlooking the most prized views in Bali. 

Nonetheless, Ubud is still popular with backpackers, mystics and all the finest fringe elements of global society. Ubud is not "ruined". Its character is too strong to be destroyed. It still draws people who add something; people who are actively involved in art, nature, anthropology, music, dance, architecture, environmentalism, "alternative modalities," and more.

Ubud is arguably the best place to use as a base if you're visiting Bali; if you're looking for culture, comfort, nature and inspiration. Ubud is surrounded by most of the things that bring people to Bali -- scenic rice fields, small villages, art and craft communities, ancient temples, palaces, rivers, cheap accommodation and unique luxury hotels. And it's central location makes it easy to get from Ubud to the mountains, beaches, and major towns.

Why peruse these web pages? 
The real Ubud is under the surface. There are plenty of interesting things on the main streets, but most of the magic of Ubud is hidden away. In the backstreets, backwaters, courtyards and cafes. In people's hearts, minds, and dreams. This part of the Bali web site was built to show you how to go behind the facade and find the real Ubud, and the real Bali, without having to spend all your time searching for it.


There's no point in repeating what's in the guidebooks, so we've tried not to. If you're interested in Ubud, there are at least a dozen guidebooks on Bali available and they all provide information on Ubud. Use this web site before you go to guidebooks, to find out what makes Ubud so special. Then use it after the guidebooks for up-to-date information, news and features about our extra ordinary town.

(Source :

Jayawijaya Mountains

Jayawijaya Mountains is the name for the mountain range that extends lengthwise in the center of the province of West Papua (Indonesia) to East Papua (Papua New Guinea) in Papua Island. Rows of Mountains which have some of the highest peak in Indonesia was formed by the removal of the sea floor thousands of years ago. Even at the height of 4800 masl, fossilized sea shells, for example, can be found in limestone and clastic rocks that are in the Jayawijaya Mountains. Therefore, besides being a heaven for hikers, mountain paradise Jayawijaya also a world geological researchers. Jayawijaya Mountains are also the only mountain in Indonesia, which has a peak covered with eternal snow.

The history of the formation of Jayawijaya Mountains
According to geological theory, originally the world only have a continent named Pangea at 250 million years ago. Continent Pangaea split into two to form the continents Laurasia and the Eurasian continent. Eurasian continent burst back into Gonwana continent that later would become the mainland of South America, Africa, India, and Australia. 

Precipitation is very intensive in the continent of Australia, plus the occurrence of plate collision between the Indo-Pacific plate with the Indo-Australian on the seabed. Plate collision resulted in the island arc, which also became the forerunner of the islands and mountains in Papua.

As a result of the appointment process is ongoing, sedimentation and tectonic events along under the sea, within a period of millions of years to produce high mountains as you can see today. Evidence that the high mountains of Papua Island and its never been part of the deep seafloor can be seen from the fossil remains in rocks Jayawijaya.

Jayawijaya peaks
Jaya peak 5030 masl
Yamin peak 4535 masl
Idenberg peak 4673 masl
Mandala peak 4650 masl
Trikora peak 4730 masl

Jumat, 11 Maret 2011


History of the Kebaya
Kebaya is one of Indonesian heritage, but There is much speculation as to where the kebaya could have originated from. There are some who say that the kebaya originated in the Middle East, while others argue that it may have come from nearby China. Derived from the Arabic word kaba meaning “clothing” and introduced to Indonesia via the Portuguese language, the term kebaya has come to refer to a garment whose origins appear to be a blouse.

Kebaya was first worn in Indonesia at some time during the 15th and 16th centuries. This garment is similar to what is described as a “long, fitted, flared kebaya known as long kebaya, worn in the 16th century by Portuguese women arriving on the south-western coast of Malaysia, situated across the Malacca Straits from Sumatra, in northwestern Indonesia.

Modern Kebaya

Many sources also cite Chinese influences on clothing of the time, one source comparing the kebaya to an open-fronted long-sleeved tunic worn by women of the Ming Dynasty. The introduction of this kind of dress were accredited to two major occurrences of this time; the emerging influence of Islam and the arrival of the Europeans to the archipelago. Whether it was Arabia or China that brought us the wonderful kebaya, there is no denying how quick the use of this garment was made uniquely Indonesian and spread from one island and ethnic group to another which its own regional variations. This quick diffusion of the use of the kebaya was also linked to the spice trade that was happening during this time in history.

Origins of the Kebaya
Kebaya took on a new role as the formal dress for the European women in Indonesia, After Dutch colonization. During this time, the kebaya was made mostly from mori fabric. Modifications made to this traditional costume later introduced the use of silk and embroidery to add design and color. The most dominant form of kebaya worn on the islands of Java and Bali today, can be visibly traced to the kebaya worn in Java and Sunda from the late 19th - early 20th century onwards.

Traditional kebaya required the torso of the women to be wrapped with a long piece of cloth called a stagen. Many of the easily recognizable features of today’s kebaya – a tight fitting blouse that enhances the torso of the woman; the fold-back collarless neck and front opening; long sleeves; and the type of semi-transparent fabric – are evident in the kebaya of the past century. Women of higher social status would have help in wrapping their torso with the stagen however women who were not so fortunate to have help could dress themselves by tying the end of the stagen to a post and literally wrapping themselves into it.

The semi-transparent kebaya blouse was then worn overtop of the stagen. This blouse was fastened with a brooch rather than buttons and buttonholes. It was customary to combine the kebaya with kain – a length of unstitched cloth worn on the lower part of the body, often (and incorrectly) referred to in the English language as sarong. This kain was wrapped around the body with the pleats being placed at the front of the body. Traditinally this kain was dipped in a cornstach solution and then carefully folded by hand into pleats and pressed to produced the crisp look that was desired. 

Indigenous Dress in the Making of a Nation
The form of the kebaya, considering the enormous -historical, political and social– shifts that have occurred in Indonesia during the last century, has remained relatively unchanged. Its function and meaning however, in contrast to its form, has a major changes in colonial and post-colonial era, operating to meet different groups’ political agendas, social needs and aspirations.

The kebaya has come to symbolize the emancipation of women in Indonesia through a representation linking the kebaya to the 19th century “proto-feminist” figure of Raden A. Kartini. During the 19th century, and prior to the Nationalist movement of the early 20th century, the kebaya had enjoyed a period of being worn by Indonesian, Eurasian, and European women alike, with slight style variations. During this time distinguishing class and status was important and produced variants of the basic costume.

The kebaya of Javanese royalty were constructed of silk, velvet and brocade; Javanese women belonging to the commoner class wore figured cottons; the kebaya worn by Eurasian women was of white cotton trimmed with handmade European lace during the day, and of black silk in the evening; while the Dutch women preferred a shorter white kebaya. It was even possible for Dutch women planning to travel to the Dutch East Indies to purchase their kebaya in the Netherlands prior to leaving.

Bali’s Kebaya
Kebaya, in Bali, has a much more recent history. The Dutch, whose occupation of Bali began as late as 1849 in the north of the island, and whose direct rule did not begin until 1882, are believed to have enforced the wearing of the kebaya. At the time Balinese women’s breasts were uncovered, except for formal and ceremonial occasions, during which a sabuk might be wound tightly around the upper torso, covering the breasts but leaving the shoulders and arms exposed. The women of Buleleng, the regency of northern Bali, therefore would have been some of the first to adopt the kebaya.

Kebaya also define the social structure of the owener. Other sources however, do not locate the kebaya being in use until the early 1920s by which time it was in full use in other areas of Indonesia. It is via the royalty and the palaces that the kebaya appears to have been disseminated out into the community. New dress codes adopted by members of the royalty returning to Bali from Java were passed down through the caste system. Yet despite the fact that clothing is often used to separate class, there seems to be no evidence of the time to indicate that there were any rules delineating styles of kebaya according to caste. Differences in kebaya cloth were more likely to be an outcome of differences in wealth.

Emerging as National Dress
Kebaya had become associated with Indonesian nationalism. By the 1920s however, and with the full emergence of the nationalist struggle in Indonesia, European women stopped wearing the kebaya because it was identified with typical Indonesian attire.

During the period of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia (1942-1945), educated Indonesian women prisoners-of-war chose to wear kain-kebaya rather than the western dress allocated to them as prison dress. A different set of political conditions produced a reversal of meaning. In this situation the women employed a cultural code (of traditional dress) to assert their political position, differentiating themselves from their European women that were also prisoners-of-war.

From the Palace to the Street 
Kebaya is worn by a wide range of women from the former President Megawati to the jamu street vendor. Kebaya could never be claimed to operate as a social leveller. Women who sell jamu (traditional herbal medicine), from young to old, and right across the islands of Java and Bali are wearing kebaya. Today, in Indonesia the image of a woman wearing kebaya sells a variety of products from traditional herbs to Betadine to fried chicken. As an icon the women in her traditional clothing - kebaya - sells tradition and all the purity and goodness belonging to Indonesian cultural traditions. Perhaps she also evokes an element of nostalgia for urban consumers. Traditional as a way of life, is often less about the differences between rural and urban settings, than about socio-economic and class distinctions. For women 50 years and older, whose occupations and way of life come to distinguish them as traditional, traditional clothing of kain-kebaya is their choice of daily dress. These women, the majority of whom belong to the lower socio-economic group, often work in traditional settings such as markets, are employed as house servants or work in the agricultural sector.

Today’s Kebaya
Kebaya, If we want try to define what it is, it may prove to be difficult as it is constantly changing to reflect the changing times and fashions that Indonesia is experiencing. Nonetheless, it is possible to make some generalizations about the kebaya. Most Kebaya are made from a lace brocade. Most kebaya fabric uses a floral motif either printed or woven into the textile and its length can fall somewhere from above the waist to below the knee. It usually, but not always, has long sleeves. It is usually fastened at the front, and if not, then gives a semblance of doing so. Some variations of the kebaya will use a batik sash, which is coordinated with the kain, draped over the shoulder as an added accessory.

Kebaya's beauty is undeniable. Although women in the market can be seen wearing kebaya, we can also see exquisite variations of them in government gatherings and parties and high society social functions. Some of the most influential women in Indonesia are married in kebaya that can be described as “works of art” with their hand embroidered detailing and beading. Designers such as Ami Amianto have helped to promote the kebaya not only as a important part of Indonesian clothing history but as a very beautiful item of clothing that Indonesian women are proud to wear.

So the next time you see a women wearing a kebaya you will understand that she is not just wearing a functional piece of clothing but she is also wearing a symbol of Indoneia’s cultural history which represents national symbolism and high fashion too!

Wayang Kulit From Indonesia

Wayang kulit is a famous traditional form of puppetry in Indonesia, mainly in Java and Bali. ‘Wayang’ means ‘shadow’ in Javanese and ‘kulit’ means leather or skin. ‘Wayang’ has come to mean ‘puppet’ in Bahasa Indonesia, and is applied to the three forms of Javanese puppets: wayang kulit (shadow puppets), wayang klitik (flat wood puppets), and wayang golek (rod puppets).

The wayang kulit art form may be over 800 years old. The fact that the story is told using shadows is very important since moving shadows can be seen but never touched. One belief was that the souls of the ancestors were brought to life as shadows that provided advice and support. So wayang kulit performances have a spiritual and magical significance for Javanese and Balinese people. Everyone present at a shadow puppet performance is believed to be protected from evil influences while the play lasts. People will sponsor a performance to give thanks for someone recovering from illness. 

The screen represents the white universe in which people live their lives. The bright side of the screen represents the material world in which we live. The darker side represents the mysterious after-life. The blencong or oil lamp was often in the shape of the Garuda bird, and represents the rays of the sun which give life to every living thing. 

The puppets
The puppets are usually made from flattened buffalo hide with buffalo horn rods for support. The only moving parts are one or both arms, which may be hinged at the shoulder and elbow. The traditional cast of characters are intricately patterned and coloured. There are as many as 500 wayang kulit figures in an aristocratic set and as few as 100 in a village set. The manufacture of the puppets is very complicated and involves several different artisans.

Balinese puppets tend to be more realistic than those of Java. This may reflect religious differences between mainly Hindu Bali and mainly Muslim Java, as Islam forbids the depiction of the human form.

There may be several puppets for the one character. Depending on what the character is doing, the puppet will be shown with different clothing and with different colours to indicate its mood. Gold represents harmony, love of beauty and the finer things in life; dignity and calmness. Black represents more reflective, inward-looking characteristics, calmness and control; but sometimes anger and strength. Red represents physical strength, but a tempestuousness or fury. White represents flexible characters that are knowledgeable and full of life, as well as innocence, youth or purity.

Rabu, 09 Maret 2011

Sasando Rote

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Sangguana who lived in Rote Island. One day, he tended to savannah. Felt tired and asleep, he slept under a palmyra tree. That’s when the dream came. Sangguana dream that he played beautiful music with a unique instrument. The sound, the melody, was so enchanting.
Then he woke up. Surprisingly, Sangguana still remembered the tones he played in the dream. But he wanted to hear it one more time. So he tried to sleep again. And yes, he dreamt the same song and same instrument. Sangguana was enjoying his dream. However, he had to wake up. Didn’t want to lose those beautiful sounds, Sangguana in no time created a music instrument from palmyra with the strings in the middle, based on his memory from the dream. Et voilĂ ! A very unique music instrument!

A few weeks ago, I myself saw that instrument, and listened the sound Sangguana had heard in his dream. A talented local boy played the instrument in Indonesia Mencari Bakat, one of TransTV shows. It sounds like a harp, but it’s not. We simply named it sasando. In Rote language, “sasandu” means vibrating or sounded instrument. Yes, sasando comes from Rote Island, East Lesser Sunda province. It has 28 or 56 strings. The sasando with 28 strings called sasando engkel, and with 56 strings called double strings.

The shape of sasando alone is distinctive. The principal part is a long cylinder made of bamboo. The central is circle from the top to the bottom and there are some wedges where the strings are stretched, from the top to the bottom. These wedges give different tones to each picked string. Then, this sasando tube is placed in a place made of a kind of plaited palmyra leaves. This is where the resonance of sasando comes from.

Sasando is played with two hands from different direction, from left to right and from right to left. The left hand plays melody and bass, while the right hand plays accord. So this is instrument where the melody, bass and rhythm collide in harmony. So it’s not easy to play, of course.

Perhaps due to that difficulty, the number of sasando player has decreasing. Many of the old generation have died when the young is not interesting to even recognize this. Maybe that is why the government through the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, at December 28th, 2007 gave an award to Jeremias Ougust Pah for having conserved and developed the traditional art using sasando.

It makes me think, hey, is there any band (even Indonesian band) that uses sasando as one of the instrument? Why not? Trust me, it will be exceptionally awesome.

NOTE: Actually, there are some version of sasando’s creating history. Beside Sangguana version, there are Lumbilang-Balialang version, and few others. Unless you are writing a thesis about it, you better leave those versions alone.