SOUTH KALIMANTAN CULTURAL ART (2)

The Function and Social Role in the Society

Beside its artistic aspects, the South Kalimantan culture and art also have their functions as well as their social role. The Dayak statues, for example, which are erected outside their villages, have a magical function to guard their villages against bad spirits.

Air Guci

The “dinding air guci” (the painted screen) is made of a piece of white cloth embroidered with “air guci” or rembuci motif. The embroidery has become a standard for this kind of screen and other embroideries function only as ornaments. This standard embroideries symbolizes happiness and fertility. It is in the form of big water-jug with thick foliage and roots that come out from the mouth of the jug. This motif symbolizes magical meaning that expresses vitality that can make a man happy and that can silent the other people that live in the long house outside the screen.

The use of “air guci” screen is to provide a separate room for a newly married couple. The mosquito screen of the bed is doubted with this screen with a hope that this couple will be happy and will have many children. A lot of children is the classical hope of our older generation. With the “air guci” screen the couple is separated from the rest of the others who live in the long house that is without inside wall or dividers. The coupe live in their own world. The traditional and the social life of the people in the long house are not disturbed by the screened room of the couple.

In South Kalimantan, there is still another important thing; that is called the dragon head (Kepala naga). It has magical functions for the big family (clan) who owns them. They could treat them carefully with respect. They should cover them with yellow cloth and scatter some flowers around them and also put some eggs for their food at certain intervals. Big families (clan) usually have two kinds of naga heads; they are is Rintik and si Ribut. The two naga head also function as a means of transportation for the bride and bridegroom during the procession around the village. The descendants of the owners of the naga heads should treat them as best as they can; otherwise, the naga heads, they believe, will make one of the members sick. If they treat them correctly, the sickness will go away.

Another function of the naga heads is to identify the far away kinds that have not been known yet. Supposing for example, a member of a family is sick of an unnatural sickness, the family will search or try to find out where the naga heads of the clan are. By so doing, they will know their position in the big family tree. It also happens when a family wants to celebrate a marriage, they need naga heads to complete the ceremony or the procession. The presence of the relatives who belong to the naga heads can strengthen their relationship.

From the above mentioned description, we can make conclusion that the culture and art of this area have two sides; as magical things and as products of art themselves.

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