The Philosophical Meaning and Uniqueness of the Traditional House of South Sulawesi

Traditional Houses of South Sulawesi – As one of the provinces that has been inhabited for a long time, South Sulawesi has a very rich culture. One of them is a traditional house. The traditional houses of several tribes signify ancestral heritage that is still maintained today. South Sulawesi has five types of unique traditional houses.

This cultural wealth built by their predecessors thousands of years ago is very important to know. The average traditional house there has the concept of a stilt house with a height of about 3 meters.

Types of South Sulawesi Traditional Houses and Their Characteristics

To find out more about the traditional house of South Sulawesi, here is the review.

1. The Tongkonan Traditional House of the Toraja Tribe

The term Tongkonan comes from the Toraja tribe, namely “tongkon” which means to sit. This traditional house is the traditional house of the Toraja tribe, who live in the mountains of northern South Sulawesi.

The shape of the house resembles a Chinese royal boat. This form is also a reminder that the ancestors of the Toraja tribe used to come to South Sulawesi by boat. This traditional house, apart from being used as a house, is also used to carry out traditional ceremonies.

The Tongkonan traditional house is built using wood that is erected on a pile of wood. The type of wood used is Uru wood, one of the easiest to find in Sulawesi. In addition, construction is also carried out without metal elements, even nails are also very rarely used to build Tongkonan.

Then just like other traditional houses, there are ornaments or decorations that are the hallmark of Tongkonan. Red, black and yellow are the dominant colors used by Torajans to beautify their Tongkonan.

In society, the traditional house of the Toraja tribe is also known as the center of government. The term used is Toma’ Parenta. This house is one of the magnificent houses, so that in the past only noble people could make Tongkonan houses.

Because of the concept of a stilt house, the lower part is usually used by the community as a place to raise livestock. The last characteristic that is no less unique is the statue of a buffalo head at the top of the house with different colors.

In fact, the head of the buffalo in the Tongkonan house is also a marker of the social status of the homeowner. The more buffalo heads that are attached, the higher the person’s social status in society. Then, because the Toraja people still have faith in their ancestors, the process of building houses is not arbitrary.

They must follow the standards or conditions set by their ancestors. Like the house must face north, as the beginning of life. Then the back faces south as the end of life.

2. Balla Traditional House from Makassar

The second traditional house is the one from Makassar, namely the Balla traditional house. The Makassar tribe inhabits South Sulawesi on the southwestern coast. Like other traditional houses, Balla was also a home for nobles.

The house building also has the traditional concept of a stilt house. The architectural division is divided into three, namely the roof, the core of the house, and under it. The materials used are various kinds of wood, while the roof uses palm fiber or straw.

Balla’s house is supported by 10 pillars. This house is known as wide and large, with a height of about 3 meters, so the interior is also spacious and large. Balla’s terrace room is called dego-dego, then the living room is called paddaserang dallekang. Then the living room will be used as a family room, and the bedroom is at the very back. The bedroom at the back is reserved for girls.

The roof of Balla’s house is saddle-shaped, with the sharp end facing downwards. For the roof, apart from palm fiber, it can also be made of bamboo, thatch, or nipa. Then there is a triangle at the top which is called Timbaksela.
The non-tiered triangles denote the houses of ordinary people, while the terraced ones indicate the owner is a nobleman. If there are more than three Timbakselas, this is a sign that the owner of the house is an aristocrat who has a government position.

3. The Saoraja Traditional House from the Bugis Tribe

Next is the traditional house of the Bugis tribe, namely Saoraja. The traditional house of the Bugis tribe is more influenced by Islam. You can see it from the direction of the house which always faces the Qibla. During the construction process, Bugis houses did not use nails, but wood or iron.

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There are two types of Saoraja houses, one Saoraja for the nobility, and the Bola house for the common people. Even so, but both have elements in common. Here are the 3 elements of the traditional Saoraja house:

– Kalle Bala, or division of the room. There is a living room, bedroom and kitchen.
– Rakkeang or in Bugis language means the part used to store heirlooms. In addition, this place is also used to store food.
– Passiringan or Awasao, which is a room similar to a warehouse, used as a place to store farming equipment, as well as cattle pens.

This Bugis house also uses the concept of a stilt house made of various types of wood. Its distinctive feature is the saddle-shaped roof with timpalaja whose number is adjusted to the social status of the homeowner. Overwriting Laja or gevel is a triangular area between the wall and the meeting roof.

4. Traditional house of the Luwuk tribe

The fourth is the traditional house for the Luwuk tribe. The original tribes of Luwuk are the Saluan, Banggai, and Balantak tribes. Even though the Banggai tribe has been established, many people still live in the city of Luwuk.

In the past, the traditional house of the Luwuk tribe was a house inhabited by the king of Luwuk. The main material for making the house is 88 wooden poles. This house has a rectangular shape with carvings on the doors and windows that are made the same. The sculptural ornaments that are usually found on doors, windows, and stairs are called Parengreng. Parengreng is a symbol of uninterrupted life.

5. Boyang Traditional House from the Mandar Tribe

The last South Sulawesi traditional house is the traditional house of the Mandar Tribe, namely the Boyang traditional house. The Mandar tribe is known to occupy parts of South Sulawesi and West Sulawesi.

Some people know them through their traditional celebrations, namely Sayyang Pattu’du or dancing horses and Passandeq, the tradition of crossing the sea with outriggers. This traditional house of the Mandar tribe is also a stilt house supported by wooden pillars.

The Boyang house is actually almost the same as the Bugis house. It’s just that the terrace or lego of Boyang’s house is much wider and bigger. The roof is also unique, like a bucket that tilts forward.

Another unique thing about this Boyang house lies in the placement of the pillars which are not driven into the ground, but are placed on flat stones to prevent weathering. This house has two stairs, one at the front and one at the back.

In accordance with customary provisions, the number of stairs must be odd, between 7-13 steps. Then for the walls of the house use wooden planks carved using typical Mandar carvings, South Sulawesi.
Philosophy of Traditional Houses of Each Tribe in South Sulawesi

Every traditional house, of course, has a philosophy that makes it different from other houses. Various things, starting from the materials used to calculating any amount, must have their own meaning.

Likewise with the traditional houses of the tribes in South Sulawesi. Although almost all of them have the concept of a stilt house, each house also has its own rules and meanings. Here are some of the philosophical meanings of each traditional house there:

1. The Philosophical Meaning of the Tongkonan House

As mentioned above, tongkonan comes from the word tongkon which means to sit or occupy. This name was taken because in the past, Tongkonan was a place for Toraja nobles to gather and discuss.

Then on the front of the house, there is decoration with 2 kinds of motifs, namely pa’manuk londong or rooster, and pa’barre allo or round sun rays. The two carvings are always installed together in front of the house.

Pa Manuk londong or rooster has the meaning of truth or katonganan and justice or sanda salunna. Then the rooster can also know the rotation of the sun or the allo mark, including measuring day and night or ussuka’ bong.

Second, the meaning of pa barre allo, shows the energy and strength needed to build justice. So, with this decoration or statue, it is hoped that every occupant of the house can have an attitude according to the meaning of each statue. Under this motif there will be betel leaves which are used as the main offering in traditional events.

The Tongkonan traditional house consists of 3 layers in a rectangular shape. This rectangular shape symbolizes the four human lives which consist of birth, life, worship, and death.

The quadrilateral used is also a symbol of the cardinal directions, namely east, west, south and north. A house that must face north which depicts life is also a characteristic as well as local customary rules.
The 3 parts of the Tongkonan traditional house include the following:

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a. The top or Rattiang Banua

The first part is used as a place to store heirlooms. The heirlooms that are stored certainly have sacredness as well as become valuable assets for the Toraja people. Then the roof. Tongkonan is made of bamboo arranged and tied using palm fiber and rattan. Because it uses palm fiber and rattan, the roof is very strong and can last for hundreds of years.

b. Kale Banua

The second part or the middle part is Kale Banua. This section is further divided into three parts. To the north, there is Tengalok which functions as a living room and bedroom for children.

In addition, sometimes this space is also used to place offerings. Then in the middle, there is the Sall room which is used as a family meeting room, kitchen, place to eat, and also a place where deceased families are buried.

For the community, the presence of bodies in this room is considered normal, even as a sign that they are close to their ancestors. Then the last part is a special room for the head of the family.

c. Suluk Banua

The last is the lower part of the house or suluk banua. This place is usually used for pets and a place to store agricultural tools.

Then, for ornaments or decorations worn by Toraja people usually use 4 types of colors, namely white, black, yellow, and red. Of course these four colors were chosen not without reason, but because they have their own meaning.

For the white color was chosen as a symbol of purity and bone color. Then the yellow color becomes a symbol of the grace of the Almighty, or is called Puang Matua by the Toraja people. Meanwhile, red symbolizes life, and black symbolizes death.

2. The Philosophical Meaning of the Balla House

Balla Lampoa typical of the Makassar tribe is also made with the concept of a stilt house. This Balla Lampoa house has a triangular roof top, commonly called Timbaksela. Timbaksela is considered unique, because it is a marker for the social status of the Balla owner.

If not tiered, then the homeowners are ordinary people. However, if Timbaksela is composed of 3 and above, it means that the Balla house is owned by aristocrats. If there are more than 3, for example 5, it means that the owner of the house is a noble who has a position in the local government.

The Balla traditional house has two kinds of stairs, namely sapana and ulcer. The difference is in the number of steps and materials used. Sapana uses bamboo with more than three plaited steps. Meanwhile, ulcers are made using wood. This sapana is used specifically for nobles, and the tukak is used by common people.

3. The philosophical meaning of the Bugis house

Furthermore, there is a meaning contained in the traditional house of South Sulawesi from the Bugis tribe, which is as follows:

1. Bonting sky, namely the part of the roof of the house that is given a cavity. This is the sign of marriage in the sky, which was carried out by We Tenriabeng, the twin brother of Sawerigading, the empress of Remmang ri Langi or commonly known as Hulontalangi (the first king of Gorontalo).
2. Ale kawaq, which is the middle part of the house which describes the condition of the motherland.
3. Buri liy, which is the part under or under the house which is a symbol of the underworld and the sea. This place is used as a place to raise livestock.
4. The philosophical meaning of the Luwuk traditional house

The main characteristic of the Luwuk house is the same shape and size of the door. So, according to history, the traditional house of the Luwuk Tribe came from King Luwuk. Where the supporting pillars are 88 with the basic ingredients of wood.

Like other traditional houses, there are social class markers in the Luwuk traditional house. An ornament called pangreng has a philosophical meaning as life that spreads tendrils or life that is not interrupted. This house has three or five peaks, which are commonly called ridges. This ridge is a sign of each homeowner’s caste.

5. The philosophical meaning of the Mandar tribe

Finally, there is the traditional house of the Mandar tribe, namely the Boyang house. This house consists of two types, the Boyang Adaq house and the Boyang Beasa house. The Boyang Adaq is reserved for the traditional houses of the nobles, while the Boyang Beasa houses are used for the common people.

At Boyang Adaq’s house, certain ornaments or ornaments will be installed to mark the social status of the nobility of the family. This house is also made with a high ridge, where the higher it indicates the higher the level of nobility.

Those were some of the traditional South Sulawesi houses that you should know about as an effort to preserve culture. Apart from that, there are still many things about South Sulawesi that are no less interesting.